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-  A treaty for science  (© Jan Vermeer/Minden Pictures)

Twelve nations signed the Antarctic Treaty System on December 1, 1959, establishing the ice-covered continent as a place for scientific study open to all nations and banning any military activity there. Since then, additional countries joined in the treaty—now 53 nations participate in activities at the various research stations there. Our photo shows the northernmost part of Antarctica, the Antarctic Peninsula, south of Chile and Argentina.