Earth s last frontier
india is completing a Rs 11.5-crore national research facility exclusively for polar science. Its first phase is taking shape at Goa. But experts who evaluated the country's Antarctic research programme want fewer junior scientists taking part, and suggest greater international cooperation. Goa's upcoming centre at the port town of Vasco da Gama will help give a clear thrust to New Delhi's priorities in one of the world's driest, largest, coldest and windiest continents. This facility is expected to boost India's claim to continue among the 46 nations conducting research in Antarctica. Goa's centre will include a museum for school children.
One of the facilities being built here will store the ice core brought back from the icy continent. "Antarctica's ice is a diary which records past climate. Its ice core and fossils contain valuable information," said Prem Chand Pandey, director of the Goa-based Antarctic Study Centre.India has been studying the icy continent's atmospherics and ozone depletion. It has also undertaken studies on pollution, geoscientific work, studies on micro and molecular biological life forms at low temperatures, polar medicine and the impact of human activity on the continent. In Antarctica, temperatures can dip to -90