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Antarctic scientists get base added to Pokémon Go

A pair of scientists working in the Antarctic have managed to get their remote research station added as a location in Pokémon Go.

The duo discovered they both played the game after each had individually attempted to get the continent’s most isolated research base added as an in-game PokéStop.

Speaking to The Independent, Australian scientists Raimon Hennessy, 29, and Pete Rizzo, 60, explained how they had then managed to gain the attention of Pokémon Go maker Niantic via reddit, which then aided in getting the Davis Research Station added in-game.


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“There’s not a lot of downtime here in Antarctica, we get weekends off, but still have things to do on the weekends,” Hennessy said. “I enjoy going out for walks and capturing the landscapes with my camera, but I also enjoy playing other games on my computer when I get time.”

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Hennessy had been asked by his partner to send in-game Pokémon Go postcards from the base, but soon discovered there were no PokéStops nearby.

“My partner had asked a question [about getting the base added] on the official Reddit page – it was more of a shock when I found out our doc, Rizzo, had requested a PokéStop too!”

The pair are part of a small contingent of 28 scientists working at the Davis Research Station, which has most recently been involved in monitoring atmosphere temperatures, ultraviolet radiation and ozone levels, as well as ground-based research into Antarctic seabirds.

“As the communications tech down here on station, it’s my job to keep expeditioners in contact with their friends and family back home,” Hennessy explained. “We have a 20Mb connection via satellite back to Australia which keeps us in contact at all times.”

The link also enables Hennessy and Rizzo to play Pokémon Go – although only when connected to Wi-Fi in one of the base’s buildings.

“The PokéStops and gym are within the station limits, however, we have 2G without data so we are limited to going to the different buildings that may have Wi-Fi,” Rizzo said.

“One stop is next to our living quarters, which has a giant living room with dining below, and a small bar, pool table and ping pong.

“Raimon works in the yellow operations building so he has the opportunity to go between the two stops nearly every day. The gym is a bit more challenging though. It’s further away and in the ‘Pineapple’ building due to its colour and shape. It’s an old meteorology building and now a music studio.”

For the rest of us, Pokémon Go is now building up to this year’s summer Go Fest events, which are set to introduce Necrozma – and likely add the concept of Pokémon fusion.

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