By: Zilli

Mcmurdo Station, Antarctic : The American research station on the edge of this frozen continent may look like a mining camp in the wilderness-

But it is actually one of the glories of American science.

At McMurdo Station. black volcanic dust off unpaved roads, sticking to trucks and buildings. People eat canned vegetables, sleep in windowless rooms and routinely wear 20 pounds of clothes to survive temperatures far below freezing.

From its origin as a collection of Navy huts six decades ago, the station here has grown into a small town with more than a thousand residents during peak months.

It has long been the main hub for the most ambitious Antarctic research program run by any nation.

Hundreds of scientists cycle through every year to study the perils of collapsing ice caps, the mating habits of penguins, the deep history of the Earth and the great mysteries of the cosmos.

Now, in an era when the Trump administration is seeking to slash federal spending, the fate of Antarctic is an open question.

The cost of keeping the American lead in Antarctica may be high.

The National Science Foundation, which runs the research programs in Antarctica and Greenland, has decided that the aging, inefficients buildings at McMurdo must be replaced.

It has a devised a plan with no official price tag yet, but it is almost certain to cost hundreds of million of dollars.

In addition, the ship that deliver supplies every year must be led by a boat capable of  breaking heavy sea ice, writes authors : Justin Gillis and Jonathan Corum

The only one in the United States fleet big enough to do the job, the coast Guard's  Polar Star is a decrepit  46 year old.


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