The internet is getting faster and faster in Antarctica
The internet is getting faster and faster in Antarctica

The National Science Foundation operates McMurdo Science Station on volcanic rocks off the coast of Antarctica.

During the Antarctic summer from October to February, the station welcomes up to 1,000 tourists who travel there to conduct research on topics ranging from climate to oceanography.

Although it plays a central role in research in Antarctica. But McMurdo does not have the high-speed Internet that most laboratory scientists use in the 21st century.

The station is located on the only continent that does not have high-speed fiber-optic cables to connect to the rest of the world. But this could soon change.

Earlier this year, the National Science Foundation began exploring the possibility of building a fiber-optic cable that would stretch along the ocean floor from Antarctica to nearby New Zealand or Australia.

This idea was first introduced over ten years ago. But it lost momentum as other projects were prioritized.

Scientists say that if these efforts to modernize the internet in Antarctica are successful, they will transform research and daily life on this frozen continent.

Researchers working in Antarctica today rely on low-bandwidth satellites to communicate with the outside world.

Compared to a typical rural family, the bandwidth available to many people at McMoore is limited. Researchers often need to save their data to a hard drive for transfer rather than exporting it to colleagues for real-time analysis. This will slow down the pace of scientific research.

In late June, the National Science Foundation hosted a three-day symposium that brought together researchers from the United States and internationally to discuss the transformative potential of antarctic fiber-optic cable, including the impact it will have on research, education, and the well-being of those who spend an hour. At McMurdo train station.

The Internet Boosts Research in Antarctica

In October, symposium organizers released a comprehensive report focusing on key points, potential routes and use of fiber-optic cables to collect more scientific data in this remote region.

Participants said daily life and research at McMurdo Station will change when fiber links become available.

Expected changes include:

  •     Live the day-to-day operations instead of relying on archival recorders.
  •     Improved weather forecast.
  •     Real-time satellite image analysis.
  •     Network security evolution.
  •     In addition to those doing research in this area, increased participation in the project.

In addition to making data analysis more efficient, the presence of cables can also help collect new types of data. understand:

    The fibers in the cable are used to collect seismic data using a new technology called distributed acoustic detection.
    The cable was fitted with sensors to continuously monitor the temperature and pressure of the Southern Ocean in Antarctica.

In addition to search options, faster Internet makes it easier for station staff to contact family and colleagues outside of the Antarctic. Faster internet has a huge impact on science communication because it allows communicators to interact in real time with people outside of Antarctica.

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