Science: Crisis at -126 degrees F.

Pressagentry is supersensitive in the U.S.S.R. And so, not until last week did Russia let the world know about a dramatic August 1960 crisis that almost brought disaster to Vostok, the Soviet base near the South Magnetic Pole.

August is the coldest month at Vostok, and during three dark days the temperature fell to the alltime record low of -88.5° C. (-126° F.). Inside the low, insulated buildings the twelve-man crew was comfortable enough, warmed by the waste heat from the main diesel generator. "But at this temperature," explained Base Chief Vasily Sidorov, "diesel fuel becomes a sticky mass, antifreeze crystallizes and...

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