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Indian flag now flies high at the South Pole

Jan 12, 2011 09:23 AM IST India India

New Delhi: The Indian Tricolour now flies high over the South Pole. Indian scientists have possibly created a world record for the shortest time taken to get to the South Pole. The achieved the feat in just eight days travelling 4000 kilometers non-stop.

"Most difficult part was getting food. The nozzle of the stove gave way because of the cold. The rubber pipe gave way. We were at a loss to understand how to cook," said National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research Director Rasik Ravindra, who led the eight-member team.

"Most of us had just one meal a day. Because in the morning, it was really hard to perform your duties," added Ravindra.

Another scientist at National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research, M Javed Beg, said that the basic principle was "to drive as much as you can".

"And stop only for scientific experiments or when there is a breakdown," he said.

"Most people think liquor beats the cold. But actually it dilates your veins. And when you are suddenly out in the cold, it constricts them dramatically. So there's a risk," claimed Ravindra.

India has been on Antarctica for almost 30 years. But it's only now, a century after man first set foot there that Indians have raced to the South Pole.

We're observing what global warming does to polar glaciers, the existence of life in places this cold and mapping precious minerals that might lie beneath this ice.

"Antarctica is the size of America and India combined, 44 stations there are just a drop in the ocean. They are not sufficient," said Thamban Meloth, Director Laboratories, National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research.

"Antarctica is a no man's land. You can put up bases there and conduct scientific experiments. But you don't own land you can't exploit it," said Ajay Dhar, Technical Officer, Indian Institute of Geomagnetism.

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