India launches 40th Scientific expedition to Antarctica

The focus of the 40th Scientific Expedition to the white continent will be to support ongoing scientific projects.

40th Antarctica Expedition of India
40th Antarctica Expedition of India

Indian launched the 40th Scientific Expedition to Antarctica on January 4, 2021. The journey also marked the four decades of the nation’s scientific endeavour to the Southern White Continent.

The 40th expedition journey, with 43 members on board, flagged off from Goa on January 5. As per the Earth Sciences Ministry, the chartered ice-class vessel MV Vasiliy Golovnin will be making this journey and will reach Antarctica in 30 days. It will leave behind a team of 40 members and will return to India in April 2021.

The vessel will also bring back the winter team of the preceding trip. The logistics and the scientific activities of India’s 40th Antarctic Expedition will be limited because of the existing challenges due to COVID-19.


The focus of the 40th Scientific Expedition to the white continent will be to support the ongoing scientific projects on geology, climate change, electric and magnetic flux measurements, ocean observations, environmental monitoring. It also aims at resupplying the of fuel, food, and to accomplish the return of the winter crew.

India in Antarctica:

India began its Antarctic expeditions in 1981 and the first team to the continent comprised of a team of 21 scientists as well as the support staff led by Dr. SZ Qasim.

The Antarctic Program of India has known to have built 3 permanent research base stations in the continent- Maitri, Dakshin Gangotri, and Bharati.

India, as of today, has two operational stations in Antarctica names Bharati and Maitri.

The National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research-NCPOR in Goa manages the entire Indian Antarctic Program.

The 39th expedition to the continent was launched in 2019 and after completing its mission, it returned to India in May 2020.

To keep Antarctica free of COVID-19:

As per the Ministry of Earth Sciences, the country has been committed to keeping Antarctica free of COVID-19. The 40th expedition will strictly follow all the required protocols for the deployment of materials and men as per COMNAP- Council of Managers of National Antarctic Program.

It added that the extra precautions of mandatory 14 days of quarantine (pre-and post-expedition), sanitizing the cargo, and RT-PCR testing before boarding on the vessel were also conducted.

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