Archive for the ‘Antarctica’ Category

Antarctica: Who Claims It As Their Own?

Monday, August 2nd, 2010
A rockhopper penguin on the Falklands Islands

A rockhopper penguin on the Falklands Islands

We know there aren’t any indigenous groups who claim Antarctica, so which country actually has political control of it? The answer is pretty simple, but the explanation is a little more complex.

The answer is: No one.

Here’s why: It wasn’t until the early 1820s when British and American commercial operators began exploring the region, as did official British and Russian national expeditions. Even then, Antarctica was not confirmed to be a continent until 1840, since many groups believed there were only clusters of islands around the South Pole. The area did not become the focus of attention or human activity until early in the 20th century. After World War II, Antarctica became a multi-national center for scientific research.

During this time period, seven countries have attempted to make territorial claims. However, not all countries recognize these claims. As a result, no country has claim to the region. Instead, the Antarctic Treaty  was negotiated and signed in 1959—and it states that no country may deny nor give recognition to existing territorial claims.

29 countries now collaborate in scientific research in Antarctica, with most of the work being done during the summer season when the population balloons to 4,490 people (from its winter population of 1,100 people). The majority of the population is from Argentina, Chile and Australia, but includes scientists from India, South Korea, the Ukraine, and South Africa. Truly a worldwide effort in scientific research!

Click here  for more information on Smithsonian Secretary G. Wayne Clough’s recent visit to the white continent

Have you been to Antarctica? Share your favorite memories with us.


Monday, June 28th, 2010

One of the perks of working at the Smithsonian is the amazing people we meet on a daily basis. Michael Lang, the Study Leader for our Antarctica trip, definitely leads the pack. As the Smithsonian Scientific Diving Officer, he directs one of the nation’s largest civilian scientific diving programs. Lang’s fascinating job takes him all over the world, to waters both cold and warm. Here, he talks about dipping into the seas off Antarctica, into an underwater world few might ever experience.

Learn more about our adventure to Antarctica and explore the amazing views in person! Want to learn more about our world’s oceans? Check out the new Ocean Portal!
Are you a SCUBA diver? What was your best diving adventure?

Video: The Bottom of the World

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

For many of us, Antarctica is pinnacle of world travel. We hope we’ll get to Antarctica one day, and we hope that it will look as it has for centuries. As we all try to be more aware of living a more environmentally-friendly life focused on saving the Arctic region, it’s easy to forget the continent way down south at the bottom of the world.

But imagine actually living there. For the scientists at the McMurdo Station, Antarctica is their backyard. Established in 1956, it began as an outpost of only a few buildings but has now grown to a large research facility. The Crary Laboratory supports biological, earth science, atmospheric sciences, and a new aquarium, all under one roof. The facility was named for the geophysicist and geologist Albert P. Crary (1911-1987), the first person to set foot on both the North and South Poles.

McMurdo Station is now the largest community in Antarctica with 1200 residents in the summer and 200 in the winter. This video shows both the day to day life and stunning beauty of living on the loneliest continent. For them, this is business as usual. You can read more about our National Zoo’s expedition to Antarctica here, where you can learn about the research team and what their home base is like from those who know it best.

Would you live in Antarctica? Share below.
Book Your Trip to Antarctica with guest speaker Buzz Aldrin!

Video: Antarctica

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

Travel to Antarctica can be an otherworldly experience. Miles of ice, millions of penguins, and sea life not seen anywhere else. Watch below for a peek into the ultimate adventure.

Join us in January, 2010, for our next voyage to the white continent. Children save $500.

Why do you want to visit Antarctica? Share below.

Click for all of our outdoor adventure tours.

Video: Antarctica

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

There are so many reasons to visit Antarcticafrom the marine life that can’t be found anywhere else to the magnificent icebergs of the otherworldly White Continent. Here, check out what makes Antarctica special by watching our expedition video below.

Looking for your own chance to kayak with the penguins? Click here for more information on our 2010 Antarctica expedition, a once-in-a-lifetime journey.

Click here to view more videos on our YouTube page.

Where’s your trip of a lifetime? Share below.