Expedition team wraps up half-year Antarctic voyage

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A 159-strong team aboard the Xuelong (Snow Dragon) icebreaker arrived here Saturday, wrapping up a 182-day Antarctic expedition.

The team consists of 249 members, including three Taiwan scholars, three Australian helicopter crew members and one Australian researcher. Some made earlier return by plane.

In the country's 26th expedition to the South Pole, all of the planned missions, including 59 scientific research tasks and 21 logistical assignments, were accomplished despite severe weather and complicated glacial conditions.

During the voyage, two expedition groups were simultaneously sent to the Kunlun station located on the Antarctic inland peak and the Grove Mountain which is rich in meteorolites. Both teams achieved "fruitful" results.

Setting out from Shanghai on Oct. 11, 2009, the team has done scientific research involving all three of China's Antarctic stations (Changcheng, Zhongshan and Kunlun), the first time in history.

The country's 26th expedition covered more than 32,000 nautical miles, the longest since the Snow Dragon ship was put into use.

In addition, 30 members from the team stayed behind at Changcheng and Zhongshan stations to do more researches on meteorology, ecology and aurora.

They are about to enter a six-month-long polar night.

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