Just Another Day in Small Town Antarctica

first_imgMcMurdo Station (nicknamed “Mac Town”) is like a lot of small towns. It is the home to a close-knit, hardworking community and has all of the amenities of the modern world including three gyms, a general purpose store, a library, and three bars. Of course, like all towns, McMurdo Station has its share of hardships. In Mac Town’s case, these include winter temperatures that have been known to dip well below -40° Fahrenheit. McMurdo Station is a research support station run by the US Government’s National geek-cetera Foundation based at the southern tip of Antarctica’s Ross Island. Mac Town is the Antarctic’s largest community (and proud owners of the continent’s only ATMs). It is home to over 1,000 residents during the summer, and fewer than 200 during the long cold winter. The station is primarily a science center, though the majority of the population is there to provide operational support. At one time, the town included Antarctica’s only television station, AFAN-TV. Now all communications (including internet) are transmitted via a satellite dish on nearby Black Island (bringing in three channels of the Armed Forces Network, and the finest in Australian and New Zealand television broadcasts). The station boasts its own harbor, a heliport, three airfields, and at one point even had its own functioning nuclear power plant (decommissioned since 1972). NASA.gov recently posted a blog entry that paints life at McMurdo Station in unremarkably banal terms. It seems that life at the bottom of the planet is strangely… cozy. (Here’s a link to a web cam so you can follow the goings on in real time).If you ever toyed with the idea of getting (far) away from the trappings of modern life, it would seem that even in this most remote of frontiers, civilization is never too far behind.I can’t decide if that’s comforting or not.last_img read more