‘We’re starting to see failures’: New Zealand’s ageing Antarctic base gets $300m lifeline


Life-support systems at Scott Base are operating beyond their lifespan, with leaking buildings and old electrics in one of Earth’s harshest climates

“You start to see some wear and tear. We’re starting to see failures and risks with things … that keep people alive and fed, watered and so on. If the failures are significant, you basically only have one option: to leave.”

Simon Shelton has visited Antarctica 19 times, sometimes staying through the long, dark winters, and has seen first-hand the gradual decline of Scott Base, New Zealand’s only outpost on the continent, and a hub of scientific research, particularly on the impact of the climate crisis.

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