By Breanna Barraclough
A New Zealand journalist discovered a top secret government lab in the South Pole dubbed ‘Antarctica’s Area 51’.
The Arrival Heights laboratory base is hidden deep in a South Pole mountain range in a zone known as the Specially Protected Area (ASPA) – or Area 122 – and topped with a bizarre disco ball-like orb.
The grounds of the mysterious scientific facility are patrolled by military officials 24/7 and visitors need official security clearance to enter.
And journalist Breanna Barraclough, who got chance to see the inner workings of the secretive centre for a Newshub investigation, said she ‘half-expected to find aliens hidden below the ice’.
Breanna said: “The first thing you notice is a strange-looking building off in the distance strongly resembling a giant disco ball.
“Perched atop a rocky hill, it looks like something out of a sci-fi film.
“‘We can’t show you what’s in there,’ joked one of the personnel I travelled with, pointing at the mysterious orb.
“I shouldn’t have been surprised. She works for the Government.
“Crunching over the rocks and snow, I was very aware of what this visit signified.
“I was taking a glimpse behind the curtains. Nothing was secret from a journalist with a mission.
“After seeing that disco ball, I half expected to find aliens hidden below the ice.”
Arrival Heights has been home to Kiwi scientists since 1959 and is based near America’s McMurdo station – another science research facility.
Breanna revealed some aspects of security at the station were surprisingly low-tech – with just a series of ropes and a red stop sign warning anyone without a permit to stay away.
And she said inside the bizarre green painted lab – filled with old-fashioned low-tech equipment due to the remoteness of the location – visitors are warned not to breathe too heavily in case this upsets delicate experiments.
As Breanna left, she noticed another mysterious orb next to a pyramid-shaped mountain – but was not told what this orb contained.
She said: “The lab itself is inside a simple container building, a splash of green against the otherwise monochromatic continent. Off in the distance, the orb sits and watches.
“Behind one heavy door is research that’s been ongoing for decades, we’re told. Stepping inside the room is like stepping back in time.
“Area 122 has been home to Kiwi scientists since 1959 and the tech certainly reflects the Antarctic mindset – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
“These clunky computers are older than I am, but they work. The interfaces are as basic as they come and instead of a USB port, each computer is equipped with a floppy disk drive.
“The equipment down here is so sensitive, visitors are warned about breathing too hard around it, lest you impact research that’s been going on for decades.
“If you’re visiting during the endless night of winter, you have to turn off your headlights while driving up the hill so the light doesn’t disturb the data readings.
“Arrival Heights is a designated ‘quiet zone’ in an effort to prevent anything, including electromagnetic noise such as the signals coming from your radio, from influencing the raw data. Finally, an excuse to wear a tinfoil hat.
“Outside the lab, the orb is massive and almost glitters in the early afternoon sunlight. Stood atop a barren mountain, the orb is what keeps Scott Base connected to the outside world.
“It houses satellites connecting those living in another set of green containers just over the hill, to the rest of the world.”