Scott Base phone home

New Zealand’s remotest outpost is now just a video call away with Antarctica New Zealand installing Starlink at Scott Base to improve connectivity.

The aim is to give scientists access to modern digital software tools while they are working at the Ross Island research station, some 3800km from New Zealand. The increased capacity and speed of the connection means the experience should be similar to working from home.

Antarctica New Zealand’s chief scientific advisor Jordy Hendrikx says the Starlink trial is a significant step up in communications capability for scientists that work from the base, opening up access to data, large files, organisational communication and collaboration tools, as well as Wi-Fi and mobile phones.

“It’ll be a different world. This could be a new era of real-time collaboration for Scott Base, with new levels of interaction for inter-disciplinary teams and analysts, both in New Zealand and around the world,” Dr Hendrikx says.

Scott Base’s first data connection to the outside world came in 1992 when Telecom NZ, in partnership with then Antarctic division of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR), completed the installation of a satellite earth station at nearby Arrival Heights. Before that, it was high frequency radio and letters. Until now, movies were watched on DVDs.

Starlink kit on its perch at Scott Base
Photo: Ed Anscombe

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