Sunrise at McMurdo Station
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Sunrise at McMurdo Station

July 1, 2010
The first glow of sunrise appears above McMurdo Station, Ross Island, Antarctica. McMurdo Station, located on the Ross Sea, is the largest station of the U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP), and serves as a "gateway" to Antarctica for U.S. scientific field teams, and as the hub for most of the U.S. scientific activity. During the Austral summer (about the end of October until mid-February), the population of scientists and support personnel at McMurdo often exceeds 1,000 people. In the austral winter (from late February to late October), the population drops to roughly 180 persons. Even at the height of the austral summer, the population at McMurdo is equivalent to the enrollment of an average U.S. high school, and is situated on a landmass the size of the United States and Mexico combined. The National Science Foundation funds and manages USAP, which carries forward the Nation's goals of supporting the Antarctic Treaty, fostering cooperative research with other nations, protecting the Antarctic environment, and developing measures to ensure only equitable and wise use of resources. The program comprises research by scientists selected from universities and other research institutions and operations and support by a contractor and other agencies of the U.S. Government. NSF also operates Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, located 841 statute miles inland from McMurdo, at the geographic South Pole; and Palmer Station, located on Anvers Island in the Antarctic Peninsula region. To learn more about the program, visit the USAP Web site. (Date of Image: July 13, 2007)

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