Elon Musk’s SpaceX has made it to Antarctica and the National Science Foundation is testing Starlink Internet on one of the most extreme location on earth.
The NSF says the increased bandwidth will help scientists working on the remote continent near the South Pole.
McMurdo, the most heavily populated Antarctic station, according to the NSF, with over 1,000 people living and working there during the summer, already had satellite internet, but it was rough, to say the least.
Everyone at the base shares a 17 Mbps link, according to the United States Antarctic Program, which severely limits what people can do.
The station actually blocks people from using high-bandwidth apps like Netflix, cloud backups, and video calls, with the exception of once-weekly Skype or FaceTime sessions at a public kiosk or mission-critical communications.
The addition of Starlink probably doesn’t mean that McMurdo residents will be able to hold a Netflix movie night or anything — the terminals can handle around 50-200 Mbps, which still isn’t a ton to go around, even during the winter when far fewer people are at the base — but it could help make transferring important scientific data off of the icy continent easier.
NSF spokesperson Mike England said he couldn’t comment further on what exactly the system would be used for, as it’s currently in beta testing.