China will launch its 21st Antarctic expedition on October 25
this year, targeting a polar icecap peak 4,300 meters above sea
level, said Wei Wenliang, an official for polar expedition affairs
with the National Bureau of Oceanography, at a press
A team of 12 scientists and journalists will participate in the
150-day expedition, the first time for Chinese people to travel the
1,300 kilometers to this part of the Antarctic interior.
China will also invest more than 200 million yuan (about US$24
million) to rebuild the Xuelong polar expedition ship, which will
participate in the expedition, according to officials from the
National Bureau of Oceanography.
When its refitting is complete, the Xuelong will have an
increased laboratory area of 300 square meters and its research
capabilities, automated safety features and living conditions will
all be improved.
Since China inaugurated its first Antarctic research station,
Great Wall, on February 10, 1985, the country has conducted an
Antarctic expedition every year.
Substantial progress has been made in research on the polar
climate and weather, glaciers, bio-resources, oceanic chemistry and
physics, especially in the field of polar aerolite, where China's
research level ranks with the United States and Japan.
(Xinhua News Agency September 9, 2004)