The complexity of the new station is in stark contrast to Amundsen's flag-decked tent.
Unlike its two predecessors, which eventually were buried by drifting snow, the new station is aerodynamically designed and elevated above the surface of the Antarctic ice sheet to allow blowing snow to drift beneath it. It was designed and constructed so that it can be hydraulically raised to extend the station's useful life.
It is capable of housing more than 100 people. Fuel and cargo storage, waste-management facilities, maintenance garages and power plant in the new station are located beneath the surface of the ice sheet. Housing, dining, recreation, administration, science and communications are located in the new building.
As it has in its various incarnations for more than 50 years, Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station sits at the Earth's axis, atop a continental ice sheet more than a mile thick that moves 30 feet every year. Perhaps the world's most remote research facility, it lies at the heart of a continent the size of the U.S. and Mexico combined that is cut off from the rest of the globe by a circulating Southern Ocean current.
The station is an amazing feat of engineering, dedicated to advancing the farthest frontiers of science.
—by Peter West