A Tour of the Continent

Life in McMurdo City : Visit Operations : Tour the Continent : Write Me


Although early expeditions involved dogs, horses, and even motor cars, the secret to transversing the continent now is the aircraft. The 109th has LC-130Hs, C-130s specially outfitted with skis that can be lowered underneath the landing gear to allow landing on loose snow and ice. There are also twin otters and helicopters which serve smaller roles in transportation. Snowmobiles and ATVs are used for local travel only, leaving the trans-Antarctic travel to the sky.

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At any time during the season, there are a dozen National Science Foundation (NSF) camps open around the continent. The oldest of these, Byrd Camp... the permanent settlements, McMurdo Station and South Pole Station, and many others. There are also AGOs - advanced geological observation sites which are the most remote and spartan of all the outposts. Several of these are accessible only from the air - and even then, in bad weather they may be cut off completely from the rest of civilization.

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