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Polar Research Support Section

Special Announcements
International Polar Year logo

International Polar Year Web Portal Launched

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U.S. Antarctic Program logo

Antarctic Facilities and Science Support

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Aurora boralis above the new elevated station at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station

NSF Special Report
U.S. South Pole Station: Supporting Science

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South Pole webcam

South Pole Station Webcam Launches

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Traverse vehicles in Antarctica Icy Overland Trip May Add Ground Vehicles to South Pole Supply Missions
divider line web site banner New NSF United States Antarctic Program Web Site goes online.
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The U.S. Antarctic Program, Polar Research and Support Section, operates three year-round stations —McMurdo, Amundsen-Scott South Pole, and Palmer stations. Camps operate only in summer to support field research. Six automated geophysical observatories and more than 100 automated weather stations operate year-round. The weather stations involve international collaboration with the Italian, German, Australian, and British programs.

McMurdo Station

McMurdo Station, Ross Island, Antarctica, is the largest station in Antarctica and the logistics hub for the U.S. Antarctic Program. (NSF/USAP photo by Michael Hoffman, Raytheon Polar Services)

Amundsen-South Pole Station, January 2005

Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, geographic South Pole, Antarctica, January 2006. (NSF/USAP photo by Scott Jackson, Raytheon Polar Services)

Visit the South Pole webcam.

Palmer Station, Anvers Island, Antarctic Peninsula Region, Antarctica

Palmer Station, Anvers Island, Antarctic Peninsula Region, Antarctica. (NSF/USAP photo by Jeffrey Kietzmann, Raytheon Polar Services)

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Ski-equipped hercules airplanes

Twin Otter airplane at British station

Ski-equipped Hercules airplanes (LC-130) transport fuel, equipment, supplies, and personnel from McMurdo Station to inland sites, including Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, and from New Zealand. During the austral summer, wheeled military transports (C-17s and C-130s) also bring equipment, personnel, and supplies to Antarctica from New Zealand.

Ski-equipped Twin Otters also provide support to field teams during the austral summer.


Helicopters provide support to field parties in the McMurdo Dry Valleys in southern Victoria Land and at remote field camps. Here a helicopter lands near the Beardmore Camp in the Transantarctic Mountains. (NSF/USAP photo by Kristan Hutchison, Raytheon Polar Services)

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The U.S. Antarctic Program operates two icebreaking research ships, Laurence M. Gould and Nathaniel B. Palmer between South America and the Antarctic Peninsula, in the Antarctic Peninsula region, and in the Ross Sea near McMurdo Station. Icebreakers annually open a channel to McMurdo Station to enable a supply ship and a tanker to reach the station.

Helicopter lands at Beardmore Camp

Small and large field camps support science parties in remote areas of Antarctica. The photograph shows a large camp—Beardmore Camp—which supported eight geology and paleontology projects during the 2003-2004 austral summer season. (NSF/USAP photo by Kristan Hutchison, Raytheon Polar Services)

Automated geophysical observatory, number 6 One of the six Automated Geophysical Observatories that the U.S. Antarctic Program supports.