This is a picture from the United States Antarctic Program (USAP) website of a research station currently set up in Antarctica. This is McMurdo Station. It is located on the southern tip of Ross Island, which is about 2,415 miles (3,864 km) south of Christchurch, New Zealand, and 850 miles (1,360 km) north of the South Pole. It was built from 1955 to 1956. The current temperature there is -2 degrees F (-19 C) with a windchill of -33 F (-30 C).
If the government shutdown continues, the scientists here will have to leave. This is especially significant because they are entering Spring on that side of the world and it is the perfect time to begin new research projects on the wildlife there.
What is extremely surprising to me is the amount of buildings and labs set up here. It looks like a small town. Annually, the U.S. sends about 1,200 scientists to Antarctica for several months at a time to study and research in near seclusion. Some of the research has been hugely important to some hotly debated issues today, such as climate change.
Antarctica has always seemed so desolate and far away, yet here it looks almost familiar. One day I might add Antarctica to my list of destinations. Fly to the southern tip of a continent and hop on one of those huge ice breaking ships and take a voyage to the bottom of the Earth. One day, maybe. One day.