India has successfully launched the 41st Scientific Expedition to Antarctica with the arrival of the first batch of its contingent at the southern white continent. The first batch comprising of 23 scientists and support staff reached the Indian Antarctic Station Maitri last week.

The 41st expedition has two major programmes. The first programme encompasses geological exploration of the Amery ice-shelf at Bharati Station. The second programme involves reconnaissance surveys and preparatory work for drilling of 500 metres of ice core near Maitri. It will help in understanding the Antarctic climate.

The Indian Antarctic programme, which began in 1981, has completed 40 Scientific Expeditions so far. India has built three Permanent Research Base Stations in Antarctica, named Dakshin Gangotri, Maitri and Bharati.