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May 27, 2020

Life in Antarctica during a pandemic

Antarctica, the coldest, driest, windiest place on Earth, is now also the safest.  While the rest of the world contends with the pandemic and isolation, it’s business as usual here at the National Science Foundation’s McMurdo Station, Antarctica.  McMurdo is the largest of the three U.S. scientific research stations on the continent. One-hundred and forty-two brave souls now call this place home and will spend six months in total darkness, completely isolated from the rest of the world, and…free from the pandemic, including McMurdo winter station manager, Erin Heard. Wintering over in Antarctica takes a unique team.  Withstanding frigid temperatures, the crew is busy getting the station ready for September and the start of the busy summer season.  Wintering over in the Antarctic—season after season—has made these folks isolation experts. It’s too early to tell how the pandemic will affect day to day life in Antarctica during the coming summer research season. When the sun rises again August 19th at McMurdo Station, Erin and his team will head home, wondering what the world will look like when they arrive.

Credit: National Science Foundation

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