NASA has scientists stationed at three separate bases around the icy continent, Palmer, ANSET and McMurdo. The last station’s main purpose is to use Antarctica’s climate, terrain, temperature and isolation to mimic that of space. The space agency has been sending astronauts and scientists to the station for years to prepare for missions.
However, conspiracy theories claim they had ulterior motives during the cold war, when they used a series of underground tunnels to replicate that of the Moon’s craters.
According to YouTube series “The Real Secrets Hidden in Antarctica”, NASA helped run secret nuclear tests below the ice.
The 2017 documentary claimed: “They sent units to train for conditions to match that of space during the 1950s and 60s, comparing it to the Moon or Mars.
“High-ranking officials including Wernher Braun conducted training missions there, including one in a tunnelled underground base.
“But did these training missions for space also double up as an opportunity to expand military bases?
“Maybe NASA took advantage of the reclusive area to test [nuclear] rockets.”
The US has shown a keen interest in the South Pole since the end of World War Two.
In 1946, under the leadership of Admiral Richard Byrd, The United States Navy sent 4,7000 men, 13 ships and 33 aircraft to set up a research base.
Operation Highjump saw the establishment of Little America in Antarctica, which is said to have been used to put the military through a tough training environment.
However, many conspiracy theorists believe it was actually a search for Nazi bases, claiming Hitler had escaped and taken refuge there.
After the operation ended, a follow-up Operation Windmill returned to the area in order to investigate the aerial photography of Highjump from 1947-1948.
Missions during Operation Windmill varied including supply activities, helicopter reconnaissance of ice flows, scientific surveys, underwater demolition surveys, and convoy exercises.