China will for the first time use robots, one that can move on
ice and snow surface and another capable of low-altitude flying
like a mini-helicopter in an Antarctic expedition scheduled for
The tank-like robot, which can move on ice, weighs 200 kilograms
and can carry 40 kg of burden and pull 100 kg of objects with a
maximum working radius of 25 kilometers, according to Qin Weijia,
deputy director of the Polar Research Institute of China.
The robot can automatically stride across ice crevasses and
snowy slopes, Qin said.
The robot will be equipped with a differential global
positioning system (DGPS) and a meteorological observation
Another robot, weighing 20 kg, can carry five kg of burden and
fly at a speed of 50 to 100 km per hour. It can continually fly for
The robot will be equipped with an infra-red radiometer for
observing ice on the sea and an aerial camera.
"The use of robots can reduce the risks and costs in scientific
research," said Qin. "No matter how bad the weather is, they can
still work normally."
The Chinese expedition team, consisting 219 explorers, will
start their journey to the Antarctic in October from Shanghai. It
is the 24th expedition for Chinese scientists.
They will set up two seismic stations in Antarctica to measure
tremors and tectonic movements on the continent.
They will also try to find whether there is ice as old as 1.5
million years on the continent during the expedition.
(Xinhua News Agency August 26, 2007)