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People board an airplane in cold weather.
Photo Credit: Shelly Finley

Fond farewell

Last of summer crew departs South Pole, leaving 41 winter-overs

The last plane of the 2013-14 summer season at the South Pole Station External U.S. government site, above, departed on Feb. 14, leaving behind 41 people for the Antarctic winter. The earliest the next plane will land at the bottom of the world is likely some time in October 2014. The sun will set once on March 23, not to return until Sept. 21, for six months of darkness and isolation. The new winter-over crew will bring the total number of people who have wintered over at the South Pole since 1957 to more than 1,400 people External Non-U.S. government site, with two men who will be spending their 10th winter at 90 degrees south latitude, including scientist Robert Schwarz External Non-U.S. government site. [See previous article —The Ice Man: Schwarz settles in for his eighth winter at the South Pole.]