For 56-year old Mangala Mani, a woman scientist from Indian Space Research Organisation has become the first one to spend over a year in the winter wonderland Antartica, which does not really see habitat. The place covered in snow throughout and where temperatures can slide to -90 degrees, living is unimaginable but this 56-year old did it. She was a part fo the 23-member team which went to the icy continent's India’s research station, Bharati in November 2016. Mangala was the only woman in the all-men team. She is the symbol of the Nari Shakti we are seeking!
Mangala's role at Bharati was to operate and maintain the ground station where 10 of 14 orbits would be visible. In India only 2 or 3 orbits would be visible. The data collected from the satellites would then be transferred to India for processing and distribution. She not only was the only woman in the team but also the only woman to have in that zone as nor the Russian or the Chinese earth stations have any woman during the 2016-17 period. What's interesting is Mangala had never seen snow in life before and here she was bracing to spend 403 days in the icy land, the coldest place on the earth!
The selection for this process was not an easy task. She and the team were rigourously trained physically and mentally for weeks together. While talking in an interview to TOI she said how the team was taken to Uttarakhand for acclimitisation to the climate. The team trekked on high peaks to build up their physical strength. “Men may have physical strength. But women are emotionally strong. All women should have faith in themselves and should always try to put their best foot forward," she said in the interview. These very words are important to every woman out there who is seeking the inspiration to do what she's been told impossible! At the age of 56, Mangala Mani has an achievement that will make all of us proud. "Women are venturing into every field. Women just need to be willing, ready and take that opportunity when it comes. With the knowledge explosion, sky is not the limit, there is much more beyond," Mangala said to the Hindu. She has proved her point.