Ten college students have been chosen for a two-week Arctic visit starting next Thursday, which aims to arouse greater public attention to China's polar research.
The "Embrace the First Ray of Sunshine in the Arctic" trip will enable the students to visit a number of landmarks, including the Svalbard Islands in northern Norway, the Chinese Arctic Yellow River Station and the Norwegian Polar Institute.
The students, two from Hong Kong, passed a national online quiz about the Polar regions and passed a series of tests covering their English proficiency, physical and psychological condition.
"This activity, the first of its kind in China, aims to drive home the message that the public, especially college students, should be more concerned with the relationship between the Arctic, global climate change and human beings," Chen Lianzeng, deputy director of the State Oceanic Administration (SOA), said.
Anna Saeboe, from the Norwegian government, said the student trip showed China and Norway had strengthened their cooperation on issues of climate change and environment.
The trip, organized by SOA, the International Polar Year (IPY) Chinese committee and the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was among the international cooperation and exchange activities of The China Program for IPY 2007-08.
The IPY 2007-08 was launched last March and this is the first time China has taken part in the international initiative in which scientists carry out large-scale, joint scientific activities.
During IPY, thousands of scientists from more than 60 countries and regions and a wide range of research organizations will carry out 220 science and outreach projects.
China has also undertaken extensive exploration of the Antarctic over the years with 23 expeditions since 1984. It has built two permanent stations, Changcheng (Great Wall) and Zhongshan.
The country has almost 10,000 Antarctic aerolites, or meteorite stones, including priceless lunar and Martian aerolites, the third-largest collection of its type in the world.
(China Daily February 20, 2008)