India launched 41st Scientific Expedition to Antarctica

India successfully launched the 41st Scientific Expedition to Antarctica, recently.

Highlights

  • The first batch of Indian contingent arrived at the southern white continent.
  • First batch comprises of 23 scientists and support staff. They reached the Indian Antarctic station Maitri recently.
  • Four more batches will land in Antarctica by air using DROMLAN facility. They will land by mid-January 2021, onboard chartered ice-class vessel MV Vasiliy Golovnin.

Major Programs of 41st expedition

41st expedition comprises of two major programs:

  1. The first program is “geological exploration of Amery ice shelf” at Bharati station. This programme will help in exploring the link between India and Antarctica in past.
  2. The second program is “reconnaissance surveys and preparatory work” to drill 500 meters of ice core near Maitri. This programme will help in improving the understanding of Antarctic climate, sea-ice, greenhouse gases from a single climate, and westerly winds.

Apart from accomplishing scientific programs, 41st expedition will replenish annual supplies of fuel, food as well as provisions & spares for operation & maintenance of life support systems set up at Maitri & Bharti.

How ice core drilling will be done?

The ice core drilling will be done in association with British Antarctic Survey and Norwegian Polar Institute.

The Indian Antarctic programs

Indian Antarctic programs started in 1981. It has completed 40 scientific expeditions. The programs helped in building three permanent research base stations in Antarctica:

  1. Dakshin Gangotri in 1983,
  2. Maitri in 1988 and
  3. Bharati in 2012.

Base stations Maitri and Bharati are fully operational, as of now.

Who manages the Indian Antarctic program?

The entire Indian Antarctic program is managed by “National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR), Goa”. NCPOR is an autonomous institute working under Ministry of Earth Sciences.

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