How Does the Law Work in Antarctica?
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Who Lives In Antarctica?
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There are approximately 6 billion people on our planet and growing, but no people call Antarctica their home. There are no cities, no states, and no permanent residents on the entire continent (but there are some permanent research stations). Yet, the continent covers more than 5,400,000 square miles (14 million square km), which is about 1.5 times the landmass of the entire United States.

Antarctica is used primarily for scientific research. Each year in the summer months from around September to February, approximately 4,000 scientists from over 27 different countries come to Antarctica to operate research facilities. They include biologists, geologists, glaciologists, oceanographers, meteorologists, physicists, and astronomers. These scientists come to conduct research on ice sheets, glaciers, snow precipitations, floating ice, wildlife, global warming, and the ozone layer. In the winter months from around May to August, the number of scientists drops to approximately 1,000. This is due to the dramatic change in climate conditions. The winter temperatures drop well below 0 and sunlight becomes very scarce.

In addition to the scientists, every year a certain number of brave tourists visit Antarctica. Approximately 36,000 tourists visited Antarctica in the 2006-2007 summer. Tourists come in the summer months because there is more sunlight and temperatures are much more bearable. The warmest part of Antarctica is the northernmost edge of the Antarctica Peninsula, where the average temperature can be in between 40 - 50 degrees F (4.5 – 10 degrees C) for a few months in the summer. Tourists come to see the wildlife, which include whales, penguins, seals, and other sea birds (Remember, there are no polar bears in Antarctica - they are only in the Artic by the North Pole). Tourists also come to see the massive icebergs, ice-covered mountains, Southern Lights, and to take in the serene nature that only Antarctica can offer.

Next, we explore how the bottom of the world was discovered.