Why Antarctica Is Being Explored（为什么要勘探南极洲）
1. When the United States was born, the continent of Antarctica was as remote as the moon—more so, in a way, because the moon was clearly visible and the very existence of Antarctica was uncertain. But now that remote land area is so attainable and so important that it has become the subject of an international treaty which protects it from national rivalries yet leaves it open to all for exploration and use. The pact arranging this is even being viewed as a model applicable to the moon and other celestial bodies.
2. Yet many people, thinking of the distant continent only as a bleak, rocky, cold and inhospitable land mass, may wonder: Why all the fuss? Why protect something so unpromising?
3. The answer lies in a number of factors, not the least of which is isolation itself. Antarctica is a very large area of the earth's surface, but— until recent years— was the least studied. More knowledge of it is important for all mankind.
4. A look at a globe is perhaps the best way to appreciate the significance of this peculiar continent. The globe shows that the entire southern hemisphere is preponderantly water—the widest parts of the Atlantic and Pacific, the unbroken sweep of Antarctic seas circling the world. Although much of South America, parts of Africa and all of Australia lie south of the equator, most of the world's land lies north of the line.
5. Antarctica stood in splendid— even awesome— isolation from the rest of the world for countless years. Its forbidding climate and wild seas prevented the migration and development of land animals such as the Arctic regions know. On the continent itself are a few insects, some lichens and mosses, but nothing else that is land supported. However, there are amphibious penguins and seals and a rich marine life, ranging from the minute organisms called plankton to the biggest creature the world has ever known, the blue whale.