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Kid's Space Home

Here are answers to some questions asked by children visiting the United States Polar Rock Repository.

Have you ever touched a penguin?

Image No. The Antarctic Conservation Act of 1978 protects the mammals, birds, plants and their ecosystems. Unless you are authorized by permit, you cannot touch any mammal or bird. You will have to pay a large fine if you violate the law.

What’s the capital of Antarctica?

There is no capital of Antarctica. Antarctica is a continent, not a nation. In 1959, 12 nations (including the USA) signed the original Antarctic Treaty and now 45 nations have agreed to abide by the treaty. The treaty states that Antarctica will be used for peaceful purposes only. It allows nations to send scientists there to do research.

Do you have any meteorites stored at the repository?

No. Meteorites found in Antarctica are sent to the Johnson Space Center for curation, and some of them are forwarded to the Smithsonian Institute.

How can Antarctica be a desert when there’s so much snow and ice?

Antarctica is a considered to be a desert because of the small amount of precipitation it receives. (Deserts get less than 10 inches of precipitation each year). Not much evaporation occurs, so over the years the snow has accumulated to form the vast glaciers that cover Antarctica.