Antarctica, the world's most southern continent, occupies an area of 14 million square kilometers, of which 98 percent is covered in snow and ice. The average temperature drops to around -30◦ centigrade, and in places, it can drop as low as 90◦ centigrade below zero. The Indian Antarctic Program is a multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional program administered by the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR), Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India. India's first expedition to Antarctica started in 1981, and soon the first Indian station " Dakshina Gangotri" was established. During the year 1988, an ice-free, rocky area of the Schirmacher Oasis was selected to build the second station "Maitri". The main station supports 25 expedition members in the main building during summer as well as winter. While about 40 members can be accommodated in the summer facility comprising containerized living modules. The Indian government established yet another state-of-the-art research station in East Antarctica in 2010 called "Bharati", which uses advanced technology to supplement Antarctic research.
I had the privilege of participating in three consecutive scientific expeditions (30th, 31st, and 32nd Indian scientific expeditions) to Antarctica to document the construction of the third Indian research station "Bharati" and the scientific research carried out in the most hostile and extreme conditions on Earth.