is a continent devoted to science. At 14 million square
kilometers (5.4 million square miles), it's larger than
the continental United States, but smaller than the North
American continent. It is home to 44 science stations
from 18 countries around the world. While a few of these
countries have made territorial claims to parts of the
continent, the Antarctic
Treatythe document that governs Antarcticaneither
recognizes nor disputes these claims. In short, Antarctica
is owned by no one.
McMurdo Station, constructed on the bare volcanic rock
of Ross Island, will be the base of operations for our
traveling team. The station was established in 1956
as a military settlement. When the Antarctic Treaty
outlawed military activity on the continent, McMurdo,
one of three U.S. stations in Antarctica, became an
icy outpost for some of the most ambitious science on
Roughly 1,000 people spend the summer in MacTown, as
it's called. About 250 of them remain at the station
year-round, through the dark Antarctic winter. McMurdo
is a gateway through which many scientists and visitors
arrive in Antarctica. With over 100 structures, including
a radio station, harbor, airport, and even a few bars
and restaurants, McMurdo has a life and culture of its
Our interactive map will
show you where our teamMary, Noel, Julie, and
Paulwill be traveling.
aerial photograph of McMurdo Station will show
you a surprisingly well-developed Antarctic city.
The Real No-Man's Land
- The story of how Antarctica's unique politics affect
its just-as-unique science.
Gallery - Antarctica's variety of ice formations
give it a beauty unrivaled anywhere on Earth. Tour our
ice gallery to see more (requires Flash
on Sea Ice - Mary tells us what she's learned
about living on the ice.
senses - Paul writes about the sights, sounds, smells,
feel and taste of the continent.
Ranch - Mary tells why she loves the creatures
otherwise known as "charismatic megafauna."
Some Real Antarctic Weather - How they celebrate
a snowstorm at McMurdo.
the icebergs in our ice