IntroductionUnseen until the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen arrived in 1911, the South Pole now has permanent residents. A station stands at the U.S.-run Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station; the geodesic dome that stood there for some 30 years was removed in 2009. Only a small number of tourists a year get to see the candy-striped pole topped with a mirror ball marking the ceremonial pole, or the line of metal poles marking the location of the actual pole. Those who see it generally go via Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions, which flies a small plane from its base camp at Patriot Hills onto the ice airstrip at the Pole during the summer season. The groups tend to be small (two to four people), and the stay is only a few hours. The station provides a hot drink to visitors in the cafeteria and opens a gift shop (only U.S. dollars accepted), but it's not set up for tours or other amenities.
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