2.2 Eighteenth Expedition

The eighteenth expedition to Antarctica led by Dr. Ajay Dhar - a physicist from IIG, Mumbai and consisting of 55 members drawn from 22 organisations sailed from Goa on 14th December, 1998. For the first time 2 helicopters of M/s Pawan Hans Helicopters Ltd., were chartered for providing the logistic support. The expedition also has an Iranian scientist who will conduct studies on the biology of Antarctic fresh water lakes. In addition to the ongoing programmes several new experiments on biodiversity of anaerobes, eutrophication analysis of lakes, ambient sea noise processes and its effects on Antarctic mammals and utilisation of fuel cells as a source of clean energy have also been inducted. In view of the importance of Antarctica in controlling the global weather phenomenon, a Brewer Spectrophotometer will be installed at Maitri station to measure the ozone and trace gas contents. The summer team of this expedition will return in March/April 1999 leaving behind the winter team of 26 personnel.