Antarctic Science Season Gears Up With Searches for Meteorites, Neutrinos, and New Life Forms

October 31, 1996

Spring in Antarctica heralds new U.S. science efforts on several fronts: a series of cruises in the Southern Ocean to trace carbon cycling associated with plankton blooms; drilling to assess the stability of the massive ice sheets; and an expedition to search for more meteorites on the continent that yielded ALH84001, the now-famous meteorite from Mars that may contain fossil life.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is supporting approximately 145 Antarctic investigations, based mainly out of three research stations during Antarctica's summer, from now through February.

The bulk of the research -- astronomy and astrophysics, earth science, glaciology, oceanography, atmospheric science, and biology -- is supported out of NSF's McMurdo Station, located on Ross Island, and at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, inland on the heights of the ice cap. Other projects are based at Palmer Station on the Antarctic Peninsula and on two research vessels.

Antarctic research highlights this season:
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