China's polar-observing satellite completes Antarctic mission

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BEIJING, March 13 (Xinhua) -- China's first polar-observing satellite has completed its Antarctic observation mission after orbiting Earth for six months.

Since it was launched on Sept. 12, 2019, the satellite called "Ice Pathfinder" (Code: BNU-1) has sent back more than 1,000 images covering the south polar region, according to a statement by its operation team Friday.

It has observed two vast ice shelf collapses and provided continuous monitoring of the ice-shelf calving, obtaining key satellite imagery and data, said the operation team leader Chen Zhuoqi, also an associate professor of the School of Geospatial Engineering and Science under the Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou.

Scientists of the satellite project have participated in the country's ongoing 36th Antarctic expedition. Apart from data acquisition of ground features near research base Zhongshan Station, they also used drone technology to do remote sensing research, to support "satellite-drone-ground" synchronous scientific experiments in the Antarctic.

The polar-observing satellite, with a design life of about one year, will also be used to study global climate changes and develop Arctic shipping routes, according to Cheng Xiao, lead scientist of the project.

"The Ice Pathfinder will rectify China's lack of polar observation data and reduce the country's dependence on imports of the technology," said Cheng. Enditem

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