What do you think of when you hear Antarctica? Snow, ice. Glaciers. The South Pole. Maybe penguins.
We think of it, in other words, less as a real place and more as a collection of attributes.
The video above, shot by helicopter near the Mario Zucchelli Research Station, helps make sense of what the land mass is like—how the big white thing at the bottom of the Earth holds peaks, valleys, and an entire invisible geography. There are whole mountains down there! It’s a landscape that will become more familiar to us over the next century, both because of the continent’s massive reservoirs of fresh water and because it will simply be easier to reach, in a world warmed and technologically-enabled.
So it’s a continent that we’d do well to get to know in advance—even if that means running naked over it.