Google shows off coolest views yet

Only the occasional lucky polar traveller ever got to look inside Ernest Shackleton's hut near Antarctica's Scott Base - until now.

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Today Google launched Street View images of landmarks around the Antarctic, giving people outside the driest continent the ability to view bases that served early explorers.

Along with Shackleton's hut, preserved by New Zealand's Antarctic Heritage Trust, the technology shows the exterior of Robert Falcon Scott's hut, the ceremonial South Pole site, the South Pole telescope and the Cape Royds Adelie Penguin Rookery.

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In a blog, Google's Street View manager Alex Starns said people could finally visit the ice and the huts from their homes.

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"They were built to withstand the drastic weather conditions only for the few short years that the explorers inhabited them, but remarkably, after more than a century, the structures are still intact, along with well-preserved examples of the food, medicine, survival gear and equipment used during the expeditions," he said.

The imagery was collected with a lightweight tripod camera with a fish-eye lens.

"We worked with this technology because of its portability, reliability and ease-of-use,'' Starns said.

"The goal of these efforts is to provide scientists and travel (or penguin) enthusiasts all over the world with the most accurate, high-resolution data of these important historic locations."

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