China will start building a new scientific research station at the South Pole late this year, according to E Dongchen, director of the Chinese Antarctic Center of Surveying and Mapping.
It will be China's third South Pole research station.
The construction is part of China's contribution to International Polar Year (IPY) 2007/2008 which runs from March 1, 2007, to March 1, 2008.
The observatory will be located at the icecap peak known as Dome A, 4,039 meters above sea level in Antarctica. The observatory will be used for scientific research in summer but will eventually be developed into a permanent station capable of accommodating scientific research all year round, said Mr. E.
The country has been preparing the project for some time, according to E.
Chinese scientific workers climbed Dome A in January 2005 and fixed the site of the observatory. Specialists from Wuhan University, with which the Chinese Antarctic Center of Surveying and Mapping is affiliated, produced a detailed map for the facility in April 2005.
The name of the new research station is still undecided.
China has launched 22 Antarctic expeditions since 1984 and built two permanent exploration stations named Changcheng (Great Wall) and Zhongshan.
It now possesses nearly 10,000 Antarctic aerolites including the priceless Lunar and Martian aerolites, the third largest collection in the world.
China has also carried out two arctic expeditions and built the Huanghe (Yellow River) exploration station in the Arctic in July 2004.
IPY 2007-2008, to be launched by the International Council for Science (ICSU) in conjunction with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), is the fourth since the first joint polar expedition was organized in 1882/1883.
It will be the first time China has participated in IPY activities.
(Xinhua News Agency January 9, 2007)