Report sets new goals for U.S. Antarctic Program

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Science  14 Aug 2015:
Vol. 349, Issue 6249, pp. 676
DOI: 10.1126/science.349.6249.676

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U.S. research in Antarctica needs fresh initiatives and better equipment, concludes a new report by the National Academies—but how to afford them remains a conundrum. The report, commissioned by the National Science Foundation, is the third major assessment of its U.S. Antarctic Program in 3 years, aiming to streamline research and improve logistical efficiency in an era of tight budgets and rising infrastructure costs. The new study lays out a strategic vision for research on the continent over the next decade: It calls for continuing a core program of scientist-driven research, but also for the creation of three priority research initiatives: focusing on the continent's changing ice sheets and their potential impact on rising sea levels; Antarctica's changing ecosystems and the genomics of cold-adapted species; and a next-generation Cosmic Microwave Background Program to probe deeper into the origins of the universe.