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Google adds panoramic Antarctica images to Street View

Google is bringing the freezing Antarctic weather to the comfort of home.

The search giant has announced additional panoramic imagery of historic Antarctic locations as part of the juggernaut's World Wonders site, joining Asian, Australian, European, and North and South American locations.

Full 360 degree imagery was captured on a lightweight tripod camera with a fisheye lens, with the help of the Polar Geospatial Center at the University of Minnesota and the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust, Google said.

The goal of the project, Google program manager Alex Starns wrote on the Google blog, is to provide worldwide scientists and travel enthusiasts with "the most accurate, high-resolution data of these important historic locations," he said.

Locations that the company deemed "important spots" include the South Pole Telescope, Shackleton's hut, Scott's hut, Cape Royds Adélie Penguin Rookery, and the Ceremonial South Pole.

"With this technology, you can go inside places like Shackleton's Hut and other small wooden buildings that served as bases from which the explorers launched their expeditions," Starns said.

Still intact after more than a century, the locations (below) exhibit food, medicine, survival gear, and equipment used during early expeditions.

"Now anyone can explore these huts and get insight into how these men [explorers] lived for months at a time," Starns said.

Google launched Street View imagery of Antarctica in September 2010, and unveiled in May its World Wonders project, which allows exploration by theme – archeological sites, monuments and memorials, places of worship – or location.

The addition of the South Pole to the Google project means Africa is the only missing continent among the geographically grouped spots.

"With this access, schoolchildren as far as Bangalore can count penguin colonies on Snow Hill Island, and geologists in Georgia can trace sedimentary layers in the Dry Valleys from the comfort of their desks," Starns wrote.