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Peole stare at a plane overhead.
Photo Credit: Ben Adkison

Up, up and away

Final plane for 2012-13 summer field season departs McMurdo Station

It took an extra four days, but McMurdo Station External U.S. government site closed the doors on the 2012-13 summer field season on March 9, 2013 (local time). That's when a Royal New Zealand Air Force External Non-U.S. government site B-757 departed Antarctica with 62 passengers after several delays due to mechanical problems and bad weather. Above, McMurdo winter-overs gather on the deck of the Chalet administration building to watch the plane fly overhead, leaving behind 143 personnel at the U.S. Antarctic Program's External U.S. government site largest research station. The nights are already growing colder and longer, with the final sunset coming on April 24. The McMurdo winter-overs won't see light again until Aug. 19. Their 44 counterparts at the South Pole Station External U.S. government site, which went into winter hibernation in mid-February, will endure a much longer night. The sun will set on March 23 and not reappear until Sept. 21.