We remind our friend Ham radio Bhagwati Prasad Semwal, VU3BPZ (on the pic aside while at Maitri Base) when reading the article below, which gives our readers an idea on what means a Scientific campaign in Antarctica. Not only a pleasure of a selfy with penguins, not a vacation in a paradise but study, scientific projects, researches and experiments, hard life away from the normal activities at home.
Bhagwati (VU3BPZ) is an Antarctic veteran,with several campaigns in Antarctica as Communication Officer at Maitri and Bharathi Bases and we are happy for the opportunity to to recall him, who is fine at home now!
Isolation and confinement are the natural state for researchers on the icy continent. Now, the whole world is in the same position.
Antarctica is the coldest, driest and windiest continent on Earth. The extreme conditions of Antarctica have ensured that the environment here is in pristine shape and have also made this the most isolated place on the planet.
I have been here since November 2019, as the medical officer to the 39th Indian Scientific Expedition to Antarctica –says Dr Pradeep Tomar – at India’s Bharati Station in Antarctica. The continent is home to around 70 active research bases belonging to various countries. These bases house more than 4,000 people during the summer and around 1,000 people in winter. They spend an entire year in isolation, conducting research projects on the icy continent.
India has maintained a strong presence in Antarctica since 1981. Every year, summer and winter teams are sent to two Indian research bases, Maitri (WAP IND-Ø3 pic to the left), and Bharati (WAP IND-Ø4 pic to the right ), to carry out diverse scientific studies. This year, the winter team has 23 members deployed at the Bharati station. It is my responsibility to conduct regular health check-ups to ensure the physical and mental wellbeing of my team mates.
The situation on the continent feels uncommon this year, with the worrisome outbreak of coronavirus in India. Back in November when the expedition had just begun, the world seemed to be in its usual state. A month into the expedition, we started hearing the news about the spread of coronavirus. Now, we don’t really know much about the situation back home. Members are worried about their near and dear ones as India is moving through Lockdown 3.0.
We had never imagined that the whole world would be in a situation similar to ours.