New Delhi: A true embodiment of determination and firm resolution, 56-year-old Mangala Mani is Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) first woman scientist to spent over 400 days, in the biting cold of Antarctica.
The 56-year-old was the only woman in a 23-member team who went on an expedition to the Indian research station, Bharati, in Antarctica in November 2016. She successfully completed her mission last December, reported Times of India.
Speaking to the English daily, Mani said, “The Antarctica mission was really a challenge. The climate there was very harsh. We were very careful while going out of our climate-controlled research station. One had to wear polar clothing. Even 2 or 3 hours out in the severe cold was too much and one had to come back immediately for a warm-up.”
During the icy cold winter months, when the team was stationed at Bharati, she was the sole woman in the entire zone since even the Russian and the Chinese earth stations did not have any women present in the 2016-17 period, said the Times of India report.
The selection process was not easy for Mani either. From medical tests to a psychological evaluation to temperature acclimatisation to physical endurance test, she had to go through it all.
Talking to The Hindu, Mani said that it was a newspaper article on Mars by US space agency NASA that had inspired her to take up her chosen field.
“A newspaper article on Mars by NASA fascinated me a lot and aroused an interest and a dream in me to join a space organisation like in Florida, which was on the coast,” Mani was quoted as saying by the daily.