Working in Antarctica—South Pole
Managed by the National Science Foundation, the USAP deploys roughly 3,000 people to Antarctica every year to conduct scientific research, or provide support to researchers through the operation and maintenance of the research stations and vessels. Inquiring about opportunities depends on your area of interest; however, the majority of employees are hired as support personnel.
Workers there support scientific research on the highest, driest, coldest, windiest and emptiest place on Earth requires exceptional logistics and planning expertise. A few of the unique challenges include managing the world’s longest supply chain, building airfields on ice and snow, Mechanics, cooks, painters, carpenters, cargo handlers, computer people, electricians, plumbers, forklift and heavy machinery operators, laboratory assistants, housekeeping, buyers, doctors and nurses, communications folks, welders, administrators, chefs and laborers, working in the world’s worst weather conditions, and managing remote field camps, ice-breaking research vessels and the largest research stations and laboratories on the cold continent.
Since the late 1960s the National Science Foundation (NSF) has increasingly relied on a prime private contractor to provide science support, operations and maintenance, logistics support and construction in the Antarctic.
Operation Deep Freeze, the beginning of America’s current Antarctic research program, began in 1955-56 in preparation for the International Geophysical Year (IGY), and the support force at that time was the U. S. Navy. However, even then, it was recognized that private companies were better equipped to provide certain aspects of support. During the first summer at McMurdo, Chicago Bridge & Iron (CB&I) had welders on site constructing two fuel storage tanks and a 250,000 gallon tank for aviation gasoline and a 100,000 gallon tank for diesel fuel.
As the original temporary IGY-era program evolved into the continuing research program (CARP/USARP/USAP) that it is today, the Navy remained the primary support organization except for direct assistance to scientists and their missions in the field.
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