40th Indian scientific expedition to Antarctica | UPSC

40th Indian scientific expedition to Antarctica | UPSC

      HEADLINES:

40th Indian scientific expedition to Antarctica launched

      WHY IN NEWS:

India today launched the 40thscientific expedition to Antarctica.

MINISTRY? :- Ministry of Earth Science
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 1 : 3 : Geography : Earth Science

      LEARNING: 

For PRELIMS it is important to go through both the research stations and take a note of it. Map all the research bases with respect to longitudes and latitudes .

For MAINS go through the global conventions regarding the utilisation of resources in Arctic and Antarctica.

      ISSUE: 

The chartered ice-class vessel MV Vasiliy Golovnin will make this journey and will reach Antarctica in 30 days

40th INDIAN SCIENTIFIC EXPEDITION TO ANTARCTICA

Antarctica “the white continent” is the fifth largest continent in the world with its unique wildlife, extreme coldness, dryness, windiness and unexplored territories 

  • The word Antarctica is derived from the Greek word antarktike, which means “opposite to north” i.e., opposite to the Arctic.

OVERVIEW

  • This Indian expedition marks four decades of country’s scientific endeavour to the southern white continent.
  • The 40th expedition journey will be flagged off from Goa on January 5, 2021, with 43 members onboard.

AIM

The focus is to support the ongoing scientific projects on climate change, geology, ocean observations, electric and magnetic flux measurements

  • The team also is focussed on environmental monitoring; resupplying of food, fuel, provisions and spare; and accomplishing the return of the winter crew.

PREVIOUS MISSION

  • The preceding 39th Indian Scientific Expedition to Antarctica was launched in November 2019.
  • It mounted 27 scientific projects, focusing on climate process and its linkages with climate change, crustal evolution, environmental processes and conservation etc.

Also the expedition is focussed on the ecosystem of terrestrial and near shore regions, observational research, and polar technology 

  • Two additional collaborative projects with the National Institute of Polar Research, Japan were also undertaken.
  • After completing its mission mandate, it returned to India in May of 2020.
  • It also replenished the annual supplies of food, fuel, provisions, snowmobiles, and spares for operations and maintenance of life support systems at Maitri and Bharati.
  • It cruised a team of 48 members to Antarctica for winter operations.

BACKGROUND

  • The Indian Antarctic expeditions began in 1981.
  • The first trip comprised of a team of 21 scientists and support staff led by Dr SZ Qasim.
  • After a humble beginning, the Indian Antarctic programme has now credited to have built three permanent research base stations in Antarctica—named Dakshin Gangotri, Maitri, and Bharati.

As of today, India has two operational research stations in Antarctica named Maitri and Bharati

  • The National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR), Goa, manages the entire Indian Antarctic program.

40th Indian scientific expedition to Antarctica | UPSC

MAITRI RESEARCH STATION

  • In the year 1988 an ice free, rocky area on the Schirmacher oasis was selected to build the Second Research Station Maitri.
  • The building was erected on steel stilts, and has since stood the test of time.

Maitri also serves as a gateway to one of the largest mountain chains in central Dronning Maud land, located south of Schirmacher

  • It is an inland station about 100 km from the shore at an elevation of about 50 meters above sea level.
  • It can support 25 persons in the main building during summers as well as winters and about 40 in summer facility comprising of containerized living modules.
  • The station consists of one main building, fuel farm, fuel station, lake water pump house, a summer camp and a number of smaller containerized modules.
  • The main building offers regulated power supply, automated heating with hot and cold running water, incinerator toilets, cold storage, PA system, living, dining, lounge and containerized laboratory space.
  • The communication is through dedicated satellite channels providing connectivity for voice, video and data with India mainland.

BHARATI RESEARCH STATION

  • About 3000 km east of Maitri, the new Indian research base ‘Bharati’ is located between Thala Fjord & Quilty bay, east of Stornes Peninsula in Antarctica at approximately at 35 m above sea level.
  • The station with a very small footprint was commissioned on 18 March 2012 to facilitate year-round scientific research activity by the Indian Antarctic program.
  • Station can support emergency shelters / summer camps during summers and having a total capacity of 72 members.

The station consists of one main building, fuel farm, fuel station, sea water pump house, a summer camp and a number of smaller containerized modules 

  • The communication is through dedicated satellite channels providing connectivity for voice, video and data with India mainland.

Bharati

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • The scientific and logistic activities of the 40thIndian Antarctic expedition are limited due to the existing challenges associated with COVID-19 pandemic.
  • India is committed to maintaining the continent of Antarctica free of COVID-19.

The expedition will duly follow all protocols for the deployment of men and material as per Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs(COMNAP)

  • Extra precautions of sanitizing the cargo, mandatory fourteen days of quarantine (pre-, and post-expedition), and RT-PCR testing before boarding the ice-class vessel is also being conducted.
SUGGESTED READING : https://www.ncaor.gov.in 
     SOURCES:   PIB  | 40th Indian scientific expedition to Antarctica | UPSC 

 

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