India launches its first South Pole expedition

New Delhi, Nov 2 (ANI) Union Science and Technology Minister Prithviraj Chavan launched India's first ever- South Pole expedition here.

The expedition was launched via video-conferencing on Monday.

An eight-member team led by the Director of National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research, Rasik Ravindra, is to leave 'Maitri,' the Indian station on the Antarctica, for the South Pole on November 8 and return by the middle of December.

Chavan said this expedition is scientific in nature and will be carried out with ice trucks, ice vehicles that travel 80 to 90 kilometers per hour.

"The team is being sent for conducting research on the problem of climate change which has been an important issue for the whole world. The team will have scientific instruments and they will collect all the data and will take a note of the weather," added Chavan.

The team will leave for Cape Town, South Africa on Tuesday. From Cape Town, the members will leave for Antarctica on November 6 and will reach the Flying Station on Antarctica on November 7, which is 7 kilometers away from Indian station, Maitri.

The traverse on polar region will start around November 8 or 9.

The team will conduct scientific experiments on their traverse of over 2000-kilometers on South Pole. They will raise short cores at regular spacing along Maitri- South Pole near Amundsen- Scot station.

They will traverse for study of variability of snow chemistry and particulate matter. Other experiments will include understanding bed-rock topography and sub surface-ice structure, study of glacial- geomorphological landforms along the plateau, and collection of meteorological parameter, data on atmospheric aerosol and magnetic data.

The team will also work on bacteria, which are surviving in extreme weather conditions.

The collection of basic data will help in evaluating mineral resources. The glacial data will indicate some areas of common substances and specific differences in other areas. This will also help in study of gravity and magnetic fundamental differences of magnetic field. (ANI)

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