There are no permanent residents. But up to 1,000 people may be wintering over at various research stations.
Scientists work on all kinds of unique projects in Antarctica, including penguins, Antarctic cod (they have a special antifreeze agent in their blood!), whales, seals, global warming, climatology, meteorites, glaciology, astronomy, volcanoes, UV radiation, and more. Scientists also study humans in Antarctica, doing research on how the human body adapts to cold and how the human mind and heart react to extreme isolation.
The Antarctic Treaty was signed on Dec. 1, 1959, after more than a year of secret negotiations by 12 countries. It dedicates the continent to peaceful research activities. Forty-eight nations have now signed the treaty.
Nearly 30 countries operate more than 80 research stations around the continent, according to 2009 numbers from the Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs.
There is a year-round presence of researchers on Antarctica, peaking at more than 4,000 in the prime summer research season and falling to around 1,000 in the winter season.
n January 1979, Emile Marco Palma became the first child born on the southernmost continent. Argentina sent Palma’s pregnant mother to Antarctica in an effort to claim a portion of the continent.
ighty-seven percent of the Antarctic Peninsula’s glaciers are in retreat, according to the website of the United States’ Palmer Station.
Antarctica is considered the premier hunting ground for meteorites on Earth, in part because the dark rocks stand out against the white ice, but also because the meteorites are largely undisturbed by natural processes.
Nunatak is the British Antarctic Survey’s (BAS) Rothera Research Station’s house band. The five person indie rock band is part of a science team investigating climate change and evolutionary biology on the Antarctic Peninsula. They are chiefly known for their participation in Live Earth in 2007, where they were the only band to play in the event’s Antarctica concert.
You can see webcams of some of the stations at http://www.antarcticconnection.com/shopcontent.asp?type=stations-index
The scientists who reside there go by either the time of their home land or the supply line that brings them food and equipment.
These long cylindrical samples of Antarctica’s ice, with dust and air bubbles trapped inside, can provide a wealth of information about the earth’s climate over the past 10,000 years. If the scientist melted one of the ice cores, he could give you a drink of water that was frozen during the Middle Ages, or even during the life of Jesus Christ.