Wendover Productions combined his interest in air travel with that of international borders and created a fascinating video essay about the complex logistics and sometimes extreme measures that are taken to ensure safe passage to Antarctica. The essay also discussed the ongoing dispute about which county has successfully laid claim to the continent, who lives there, how the constant freezing and melting of snow inhibits building, how supplies are delivered and how flights to Antarctica are few, far-between and very expensive.
Of course, Antarctica is still Antarctica—one of the harshest climates in the world. Whenever a plane leaves from New Zealand or South Africa or Chile to Antarctica, it’s required to take enough fuel to fly all the way to its destination, attempt landing, then fly back to its origin if landing is not possible. Planes fail, equipment breaks, and weather changes, so Antarctica just isn’t a place conducive to reliability. For this reason, planes are prohibited from landing or taking off in the dark and of course, in the winter in Antarctica, it’s dark for 24 hours a day.