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Last Updated: May 20, 2007 - 10:48:48 AM
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India planning satellite earth station in Antarctica
Apr 21, 2007 - 8:48:20 PM
Sibal said India would not exploit the continent for purposes other than scientific.

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[RxPG] New Delhi, April 21 - India is planning to build a Satellite Earth Station at Maitri -, its second base in the Antarctica, to facilitate instant data transfer from the ice continent.

Minister of Science and Technology and Earth Sciences Kapil Sibal said Saturday: 'The Ministry of Earth Sciences in collaboration with the department of space is planning to set up a Satellite Earth Station at Maitri to provide better communication and real time data transfer facility between Antarctica and mainland India.'

'Once operational it will help us in enhancing the capabilities and efficacies of Indian polar orbiting satellites,' Sibal added.

Maitri was built on adjustable telescopic legs and has 25 single occupancy rooms as well as buildings for research, supply, power and general purpose. It is located on the East Antarctic mainland, south of Capetown and 90 nautical miles from the usual Antarctic coastline.

India is also planning to get its own first oceanographic research-cum-logistic vessel. So far, India's Antarctic expeditions have been conducted on hired vessels, which are normal ice class freighters.

The proposed research vessel will help Indian scientists mount full-fledged research expeditions to the polar regions and in the southern oceans of Antarctica.

'It would also facilitate logistics operations to our existing and new research base,' Secretary, Ministry of Earth Science P.S. Goel said.

Sibal said the development would help Indian scientists to do more research and development and obtain data about the ice continent.

'The Indian coastline and that of Antarctica seem to have some similarity. The new initiative would help us in bringing out the semblance if any,' he said.

Sibal said India would not exploit the continent for purposes other than scientific.

'India would never exploit it for commercial purposes. Commercial exploitation of the Antarctica is harmful for human civilisation and India opposes tourism in the ice continent,' Sibal added.

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