India: India’s third permanent station in Antarctica, “Bharati”, would be up and running in 2012. It will be set up at the Larsemann Hills on the eastern coast of Antarctica. It will cost INR 200 crore. It will accommodate 70 scientists and send real-time satellite images. Other two stations are Dakshin Gangotri and Maitri.
“The new station will have modern facilities and connectivity like a regular living space,” said Science Minister Kapil Sibal after remotely unveiling the foundation stone of “Bharati.” Facilities at Maitri are also being upgraded.
With the third station, India is consolidating its strength on the icy continent. While scientific objectives are immediate goals, the real reason behind the consolidation is aimed at sharing the oil and mineral resources when the Antarctica treaty would be open for review. At the moment no nation can exploit Antarctica resources, which are treated as the common heritage of the mankind.
The earth station would be of great advantage because currently many satellite images are being received at a base station in Svalbard in Norway’s Arctic region, from where they are sent on a disc every 2-3 days. Shailesh Nayak, secretary in the ministry of earth sciences, said, “Indian Space Research Organisation is paying a heavy sum for that every year, which can be saved. Also we would get the data in real time.”
Once the station was ready, close to 35 scientists and 10 logistics persons would stay in “Bharati” throughout the year, he added.
Source: Deccan Herald