THE BLOG
02/27/2013 11:04 am ET Updated Apr 28, 2013

What Is It Like To Live at the South Pole?

This question originally appeared on Quora.
2013-02-27-alight.jpeg
Answer by Alan Light,

It isn't bad if you don't mind the cold and don't mind small towns.

The galley serves three meals a day. Accommodations are in small, one person rooms. During the summer most people will be staying in tents like the ones on the MASH TV show - and the tents actually came from an actual Korean War era MASH unit. During the winter, everyone will live in the main station - now the elevated station, formerly in small buildings under the (now demolished) dome.

There's running water and a power station, and most of the comforts of home. During the summer mail comes in usually two or three times each week. Work is six days a week, Sundays are off - though hours vary a little depending on one's job. The store is quite small but offers a few nice things and a lending DVD library. It is jokingly referred to as "Pole Mart" and when I was there had a sign that was cut out from a box which said "Store in a cold, dry place."

In order to conserve water, showers are limited to two, two minute showers per week and laundry is limited to one load per week - but it's not as bad as one might think because the climate is so cold and dry that one never sweats.

There is also a library, and a lounge that has even more books readily available, and internet is available - although due to the scarcity of satellites in a suitable orbit, the internet is available only about nine hours each day (as of five years ago - it might be better or worse now).

For those that like social gatherings, there are plenty organized throughout the season. Population is around two hundred and fifty during the summer, and about fifty during the winter - though the exact numbers vary annually according to station needs.

See photos from my time spent in Antarctica:
Antarctica Highlights 2007-2008
McMurdo Station, Winter 2009

More questions on Antarctica:

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