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China plans its 21st Antarctic Expedition in October


Xinhua online


       China plans to carry out its 21st Antarctic Expedition at the end of this October after an interval of one year.


       Zhang Haizhan, director of Chinese Center of Polar Research, said on 15th that this expedition was set during October 25 2004 to March 25 2005, lasting 150 days and involving over 130 team members.


       This expedition will implement the project of Inland Ice Cap Research from Zhongshan Station to Dome A, which is also a preparation for selecting the site for China’s scientific station to be established in inland Antarctic.


       “Dome A” plans to take 70 days to explore 1300 km into inland Antarctic ice caps, set signs of the expedition route along the trip, and accomplish the construction of the Integrative Monitoring System for Glacier and Climate through research on this section, which will be useful experience for the operation of the future inland station. It also hopes to ascend the summit of Dome A and set up an interim monitoring station there.


       Director Zhang Haizhan said that to establish research stations on inland ice caps of the Antarctic displays the national power and scientific level of a country. Up to now, only a few countries have set up their scientific stations in inland Antarctic.


       Situated most far away from the coastline in interior Antarctic, Dome A has the highest altitude among Antarctic inland ice caps and most abominable climate, which wins for her the name “the unaccessible pole”. This expedition will be the first one to access Dome A from land surface for systematic scientific research.


       Up to now, China has conducted four expeditions to inland ice caps of the Antarctic successfully, especially the third one in 1998-1999, which has covered 1176 km and has been close to Dome A region.