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The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a multi-year contract to Lockheed Martin for logistical support for the U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP). NSF provides funding for scientific research as well as for the necessary associated infrastructure and logistics, which includes three year-round research stations in Antarctica and two science vessels in the Southern Ocean. Lockheed Martin will begin providing logistical support on April 1, 2012.
“As the manager of the U.S. Antarctic Program, NSF looks forward to working with Lockheed Martin and our other partners over the coming years, addressing together the challenges of supporting research as the scientific frontiers in Antarctica advance and technology evolves to support it,” said Karl Erb, director of NSF’s Office of Polar Programs. “In addition to supporting forefront research funded by NSF and other Federal agencies, the Program provides the foundation for U.S. leadership in the governance of the only continent in the world set aside by international treaty for peaceful purposes, of which science is the foremost example.”
More than 3,000 Americans participate each year in the program’s research and logistical activities, involving scientists as well as support personnel from the private sector and other Federal agencies that include the Department of Defense, NASA, the U.S. Geological Survey and the Department of Energy.
The overarching USAP goal is to advance the scientific forefront when research conducted in Antarctica offers a special way forward. The scientific disciplines benefiting from this broad mandate include astronomy, astrophysics, atmospheric sciences, biology, earth science, environmental science, geology, glaciology, marine biology, oceanography and geophysics. USAP research provides insight into the ways in which Antarctica, its ice sheet and the Southern Ocean have interacted with and impacted global processes in the past and how they might do so in the future.
Lockheed Martin will provide logistical support for research at McMurdo Station, Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, and Palmer Station, as well as for field research on the continent and oceanographic research in the Southern Ocean.
Source: National Science Foundation