A 17-member Chinese expedition team is expected to reach Friday Dome A, the highest Antarctic icecap peak at an elevation of 4,093 meters, its leader Sun Bo said.
In a telephone conversation with China's Changcheng (Great Wall) Station in Antarctic Monday, Sun said they had arrived at an altitude of 3,381 meters and just 230 km away from the highest icecap, adding they could reach Dome A Friday.
The 17 scientists set off from China's Zhongshan Station in eastern Antarctic on Dec. 22 for Dome A. They are tasked with choosing a suitable location for China's third Antarctic research station and implementing a major exploration task, the Panda plan.
China currently has two stations in Antarctic. 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.
The 17 researchers are part of China's 24th scientific expedition team which arrived here Saturday. The country launched its first expedition to Antarctica in 1984 and such expeditions have been conducted on an annual basis since then.
(Xinhua News Agency January 9, 2008)