Antarctica program gathers rocks, and critics on Capitol Hill
35th annual expedition will cost about $1m
The geologist who conceived it called it the poor man’s space program. Senator John S. McCain, Republican of Arizona, fumed that it was a waste of taxpayer dollars. For the 35th year, the United States is mounting its annual campaign to gather space rocks from the wind-hammered ice fields of Antarctica. But getting there is a feat of logistical largesse. The eight-person expedition requires 20,000 pounds of gear, hauled first to McMurdo. From there, three giant C-130 transport planes bring in the tents, food, water, fuel, snowmobiles, and generators.