Google Street View Goes to Antarctica

A note to viewers: TIME.com suggests viewing the panorama in full-screen mode. For visitors on a mobile device or tablet, we recommend utilizing our versions optimized for a fully immersive experience: 

iPAD versioniPHONE version

Above: The interior of Shackleton’s Hut displays the host of supplies used in early 20th century Antarctic expeditions—everything from medicine and food to candles and cargo sleds can be found neatly stored inside. You can immerse yourself in all of Google’s newly released imagery here.

Though Google first grabbed panoramic Street View images of Antarctica back in 2010, the search giant recently returned to the world’s least-populated continent to capture historic sites such as the South Pole and the insides of buildings that have battled the elements for more than a century.

Taking a virtual look inside places that provided shelter for Antarctica’s earliest explorers, such as Shackleton’s Hut and Scott’s Hut, is like stepping back in time. “They were built to withstand the drastic weather conditions only for the few short years that the explorers inhabited them,” says Google. “But remarkably, after more than a century, the structures are still intact, along with well-preserved examples of the food, medicine, survival gear and equipment used during the expeditions.”

Street View photos are normally gathered using specially modified cars, trikes and even snowmobiles, but the latest crop of immersive imagery was collected using only “a lightweight tripod with a fisheye lens,” according to Google. In an area as unforgiving as Antarctica, Google says it “worked with this technology because of its portability, reliability and ease-of-use.”

(Photos: Captain Scott and Captain Shackleton: A 100-year-old expedition)

The end result may not be quite the same as being there in person, but it’s definitely a historically interesting step forward. And it’s a lot warmer, safer and less expensive, too.

“After months of want and hunger, we suddenly found ourselves able to have meals fit for the gods, and with appetites the gods might have envied.”—Ernest Shackleton

For more about how Street View works, head over to Techland.

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