Can you live in Antarctica? Before answering this question, we’d like to ask you, “Can you name a place that has no indigenous tribes?” Well, Antarctica is the answer.
Antarctica is on the top of the bucket list for traveling for many people. And why wouldn’t it be? Antarctica hosts visually stunning sceneries, and ever-vibrant wildlife full of species you don’t see anywhere else, and tons of fun activities! Antarctica is truly a Disneyland for adventurers.
That’s why, if the idea of living in Antarctica crosses your mind, we wouldn’t be surprised. But the fact here is, you can’t.
The only continent in this world with no indigenous tribe is Antarctica. The temperature remains sub-zero round the year, and it drops as low as 128 degrees. The wind is icy and cruel, and the sun seems like a convict who loves staying out of sight. In one word, it’s cold, extremely cold.
The environment of Antarctica is so cruel that it can kill a human easily. The winter persists for eight months. There are many days that the sun won’t show up, and things remain dark as night amidst the raging snowstorms.
The land is infertile. It’s impossible to grow crops or trees in such a place. On top of that, it’s extremely dry. You’ll hardly see any lake or waterfall, and coming across one will seem like a miracle. In such a place, survival is a challenge.
It Doesn’t Have the Basic Infrastructures
Another reason why you can’t live in Antarctica is that it doesn’t have fuel reserves. With the acute lack of fuel, it’s not only tough but impossible to build infrastructural buildings and make them sustainable. That’s why you won’t find any utility buildings, such as health care facilities, education systems, groceries, or even transport systems!
This means, if you plan on moving to Antarctica, you have to be self-sufficient. You have to grow your crops, which is impossible to do so. You’ll have to drive yourself from one place to another, but you won’t get enough fuel. There’s no way you can earn for yourself, or provide any service, or get your supplies in Antarctica. If you fall sick, you would have to move back to your country to get a medical facility.
In this continent, only a handful of people could manage to survive. So, can you live in Antarctica? Not really.
Who Lives in Antarctica and How?
Although it’s completely inhabitable, people still managed to live in the adverse weather of this continent. There aren’t any commercial industries in Antarctica. The only people who live here are researchers and scientists.
There are about 66 research stations in Antarctica. Some of these bases are active all year round, but most of them are active during summer only. According to statistics, only 37 bases remain active throughout the year. The rest remain active during summer only. They vary greatly in size. On average, these stations host 50 people during summer and around 20 during winter.
But these research stations are funded by governments and resourceful organizations. Thus, they could become actually self-sufficient. And this sufficiency allows them to survive in such an environment. The same cannot be accomplished by regular people, though. And without that seemingly unending resource, you simply can’t live in Antarctica.
Is There Anyone Born in Antarctica?
Though Antarctica doesn’t have any permanent inhabitants, some people were born there. They’re mostly the children of the researchers or scientists living in Antarctica. Emilio Marcos Palma was the first human ever to be born on Antarctic soil in the year 1978. Till today, about 11 people were born in Antarctica, as the records suggest.
Towns in Antarctica?
There are only two bases in Antarctica that are regarded as miniature towns. There’s the Villa Las Estrella’s base. It has around eighty inhabitants in the winter and about a hundred in the summer. The base is situated on King George Island.
The other base is the Esperanza base, which is situated in Hope Bay. This one hosts around fifty winter residents. These bases are quite large, and they have adequate medical facilities, education systems, as well as gyms.
These aren’t exactly towns. But in Antarctica, this is the closest you can get.
20th Century Speculations
In the mid-twentieth century, people were having an idea of inhabiting Antarctica. And the plan was to surround a considerable amount of geographical space with a giant dome made of glass-like elements. This domed city concept was developed by Buckminster Fuller and was named geodesic dome.
According to the concept of the geodesic domed city, the domes were supposed to regulate the temperature and air inside the dome. As a result, even if the environment outside the dome was chilly, the environment inside the dome will be nothing like the quintessential Antarctic weather; it will be habitable by humans and other animals.
The people who proposed this model thought about the lack of sunlight as well. Most of the time, the sun is obscured and blocked in the Antarctic skies. So, you won’t be able to see sunlight most of the days, and it’ll feel like an eternal night.
But the ones who proposed this model talked about a building that will host a huge source of light. This source of light will be able to illuminate every corner inside the geodesic dome. This way, people won’t be deprived of light anymore.
If such feats were accomplished, Antarctica could’ve been habitable by now. People could go to live there, after the countries stopped fighting over Antarctica, of course. In fact, there would’ve been more research stations, and they would’ve been more efficient as all of them would be able to work around the year. There would’ve been mining camps, all the necessary infrastructures, and whatnot.
Unfortunately, such an attempt wouldn’t be feasible. It’s not impossible. In fact, such a project was undertaken, and a domed space was operated at the Amundsen-Scott station at the south pole for twenty-nine years. After that, it was closed down.
As we’ve mentioned earlier, Antarctica is a dry land that holds almost no fuel. The only solution to fuel would be nuclear power, but nuclear plants require a lot of resources as well. Plus, they’re very hard to control with such limited manpower in such a climate.
That’s why a geodesic dome would not be feasible for a place like Antarctica. It would only lead to failed attempts. Even if such a city was established, it would be very hard and impractical to maintain. That’s why people gave up on such an idea, and Antarctica remains uninhabitable till today.
The Only Way You Can Live in Antarctica
It’s impossible to live on Antarctic soil without having unlimited resources. And if you’re lucky, you can expect to get supplies in time. If you fall sick and need medical assistance, you might get help from a nearby research station, if there isn’t a storm going on.
But nothing is impossible, and you too can live in Antarctica for a few months if you can become a part of the research stations. If you’re a researcher or a scientist, and if your country has a research station set up in Antarctica, you can actually apply for a job there.
This takes people more than one attempt. If you’re really good at your job, you should still give it some try. It will lead to an unforgettable experience that will last a lifetime. Although you won’t be staying all year long, you’ll still get quite the experience in two to six months.
Will Antarctica be Habitable in the Future?
With the rise of global warming, it’s speculated that by the end of the 22nd century, some parts of Antarctica will become habitable. With the rise in temperature, a lot of ice will melt away, and it will lead to a warmer environment. Another major issue – the biting wind – will reduce as well.
It’s even speculated that, in many northern areas of Antarctica, farming will be possible. This will allow people to be self-sufficient in one way, at least. And as the ice will melt away, some water bodies will surely form in those regions. How useful those will be, however, is still a lingering question.
While the pictures or movies might make Antarctica seem to be habitable to you, it’s not. If you wish to visit Antarctica, you can do so. In a few days’ trip, you’ll be able to explore a vast portion of the discovered regions.
But the answer to the question, “can you live in Antarctica?” is a no, and it will stay that way for some decades at least, unless a method is invented by the scientists that will allow people to set up colonies at lower costs easily.