Look for the future to see more nation-to-nation collaboration -- just like the International Space Station, and more pooling of financial resources. Officials at the NSF are already talking to their counterparts in France, Australia and Russia about building a new research icebreaker.
Finally, it's likely the 55 year old base at McMurdo -- which today boasts three airfields, a heliport, sewage treatment plant, fire station, 100 buildings and three bars -- will be getting a facelift.
"It's a tired facility," Augustine said about McMurdo. "Tired and inefficient."
Augustine noted that there are many buildings that have little or no insulation, while storage units for lab equipment are often outdoors and difficult to access.Some older wooden buildings remain a fire hazard.
That point was driven home recently after a fire two months ago destroyed the Brazilian Antarctic base on an island off the Antarctic Peninsula, killing two sailors who were trying to extinguish the flames. More than 45 scientists -- mainly biologists and oceanographers - lost their work and equipment.The flames were made worse by the dry conditions, high winds, and cold temperatures that froze seawater being pumped through fire hoses.The disaster at the Brazilian base could be a wake-up call for managers of U.S. facilities.