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'Xuelong' arrives at Changcheng Station
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China's 24th scientific expedition team arrived at the Changcheng (Great Wall) Station in the western Antarctic Saturday aboard the "Xuelong" (snow dragon) ship.

The exploration ship, carrying 91 researchers and 40 crew members, left China's eastern coastal city of Shanghai on Nov. 12. It arrived at the Zhongshan Station in eastern Antarctic on Dec. 11 and headed on Dec. 23.

The ship arrived with supplies for Changcheng Station's largest ever renovation. The project includes a 1,000-square-meter building for scientific research, a recreation center for the researchers as well as garbage and sewage treatment facilities.

Other members of the 188-strong exploring team will travel to Antarctic by air.

China launched its first expedition to Antarctica in 1984, with such expeditions conducted on an annual basis since then.

Changcheng Station, founded in February 1985, is located south of King George Island, and Zhongshan Station, built in February 1989, is located south of Prydz Bay on the Mirror Peninsula, east of the Larsemann Hills.

On Dec. 22, 17 Chinese scientists set off for Dome A, the highest Antarctic icecap peak at an elevation of 4,093 meters, to choose a suitable location for China's third Antarctic research station and implement a major exploration task, the Panda plan.

According to the Polar Research Institute of China, 82 stations have been built on Antarctica and the continent receives more than 30 scientific expedition teams every year.

(Xinhua News Agency January 7, 2008)

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