Antarctica is the 5th largest continent after Africa, Asia, North America and South America. There are seven sovereign nations that have territorial claims in Antarctica: Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, New Zealand, Norway, and the United Kingdom.

The largest research facility is McMurdo Station, a United States Antarctic research station on the south tip of Ross Island, which is in the New Zealand-claimed Ross Dependency on the shore of McMurdo Sound. It is run through a branch of the National Science Foundation and can support up to 1,258 residents.