National Geographic : 1997 Feb
< DECEMBER 1972 Working the night shift-which lasts all winter-the crew of a weather station race through a blizzard to their barracks. A typical January entry in the diary of Ivan Papanin on SP-1: "The snowstorm rages unabated ... we felt our ice floe quake again ... hearts begin to palpitate. Our run down condition is tell ing on us." V JANUARY 1958 To fend off the effects of winter, a doctor gives light therapy to a worker overcome by life in total darkness. As a rule, workers were evacuated after one winter-although some, like oceanolo gist Leo Timokhov, relished Arctic night: "On the ice you're close to the cosmos as if you are sediment on the bottom of a tranquil black sea." GENNADYKOPOSOV (ABOVE); ARCTICAND ANTARCTICMUSEUM < JANUARY 1955 Ringing in the new, scientists at this drift station put up a tradi tional Russian New Year's tree and toasted their late pre mier, Joseph Stalin, who had died in 1953. Social gatherings were considered cru cial to the success of a Soviet drift station. "We ate every single meal together," says one scientist. "It was a rule."