To go to the South Pole, visitors must arrange a tiny plane that may land on the ice near the pole, where they will be able to explore the research facility, weather permitting. These visits can cost as much as $50,000 USD and go higher from there. Only a few travel companies provide flights to the South Pole.
The South Pole is located in Antarctica. It is the southernmost point on Earth, at which the Antarctic Circle meets the ground. The distance between the South Pole and the center of London is about 1,450 miles (2,285 kilometers).
No, you cannot travel to the South Pole because it is not within the borders of any country. It is also impossible to reach by foot or vehicle.
The first human beings to set foot on the South Pole were Norwegian explorers Roald Amundsen and Lars Christensen on 10 December 1911. They were followed shortly thereafter by three other men from Norway, Sweden, and Germany.
Amundsen was the first man to reach the top of Mt. Erebus, the most active volcano in Antarctica. The race for the south pole began in 1910 when Amundsen learned that Christensen was planning to cross Antarctica. Amundsen built his own ship, the Gjøa, and sailed into the heart of the ice field with just him and two other crew members. After months of hard work, they reached the South Pole on 10 December 1911.
It is now feasible to travel to both the North and South Poles. It is not inexpensive. Those two visits will cost you between $30,000 and $100,000 apiece, but that's a lot less than it used to be. Those excursions will also place you in a very elite club. There are only about 500 people who have traveled to the South Pole.
The first person to ever visit the North and South Poles was Roald Amundsen. He did this in 1908. Since then, 16 other people have done so as well.
People often wonder if it is possible to travel to all of the continents. Yes, it is called a "round-the-world trip" or "annual cycle tour." Such trips usually start in Europe and make their way through Asia and Africa before returning to Europe. However, there are restrictions based on airline policies and the amount of time you can stay outside of your home country. For example, most airlines will not allow you to fly back and forth between Europe and Asia every month.
It is also possible to travel to all seven continents. Such trips usually begin in Europe and make their way through Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Oceania, and Antarctica. But again, there are restrictions based on airline policies and the amount of time you can stay outside of your home country.
Remember that the South Pole lies at 10,000 feet in height, thus the trip requires a properly prepared plane. Landing at the South Pole (Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station) is only possible by special arrangement or in an emergency. The North Pole is located in the Arctic Ocean. Antarctica has no roads, no airports, and no human settlements.
The first aircraft to fly over the South Pole was a British plane in 1929. Since then, several other planes have flown over the South Pole. In addition, a Russian plane landed at the South Pole in 1990 as part of a scientific experiment. However, it did not take off again until two years later.
The pilot who flew this Russian plane said that it was one of the most terrifying experiences of his life. He had to make a sharp turn to avoid crashing into the ice wall at the edge of the Antarctic field.
No aircraft has ever successfully landed at the South Pole time enough to refuel before continuing on its way. However, it has been done with helicopters, which don't need much time to refuel.
The South Pole is a frozen continent 30 miles long by 14 miles wide. It is located in Antarctica, south of Australia and north of Chile. The Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station is built near where Captain Scott of the British Terra Nova Expedition died in February 1912.
For starters, there is no compelling reason to fly over the South Pole. There is significantly less airplane traffic in the southern hemisphere than in the northern hemisphere. For example, the southern hemisphere lacks the equivalent of the frequently congested sub-polar routes connecting North America and Asia.
There are also political reasons why flying over the South Pole is prohibited. The United States and Russia, for example, do not have diplomatic relations at the moment. Thus, it's impossible for either country to grant permission for a flight over the South Pole.
In fact, Russia banned all American flights over its territory during the Cold War period, except for a few special permits. In recent years, Russia has been relaxing its restrictions on foreign aircraft traffic, but the South Pole remains off-limits to American pilots.
The only way to visit the South Pole is as a part of a team funded by one of the world's leading research institutions. The National Science Foundation (NSF) conducts scientific research experiments at the South Pole Station year round. The station is managed by the U.S. Department of Energy, which runs the science division that receives most of its funding from Congress.
So, flying over the South Pole is prohibited because there is no reason to do so and no one is willing to pay for the privilege.