Earth's only continent without a native human population isn't as lonely as it used to be. Antarctica is inhabited by scientists
at nearly 70 research stations and several dozen temporary camps. They come to these stations, often for long periods of time, to collect meteorological data, drill for deep ice samples and study cold-loving organisms.
Researchers at the Palmer Station
, pictured here, focus on Antarctic marine ecosystems like sea ice habitats and terrestrial nesting sites of seabird predators. Thanks to the Antarctic Treaty signed in 1959, the continent has become a scientific preserve where researchers from dozens of countries study peacefully without military presence.
Image: J. Booth