2008-07-11 03:50:39 GMT 2008-07-11 11:50:39 (Beijing Time) Xinhua English
SHANGHAI, July 10 (Xinhua) -- A total of 121 team members step onto the ship "Snow Dragon" here on Thursday afternoon, all ready to take their leave for China's third scientific exploration in the north pole.
The team include 60 researchers, 39 seamen and 22 logistic staff and journalists. Among the researchers, 11 come from the United States, the Republic of Korea, Japan, Finland, France and other foreign countries.
The 49 domestic scientists come from Ocean University of China, Xiamen University, the State Oceanic Administration, the Polar Research Institute among others. Many of them are of the "post-80's generation".
"One of the main features of this team is young and of high quality," said Qu Tanzhou, an official with the State Oceaning Administration. The average age of the team is 35.7 and the youngest member is only 19.
And the team has 11 female members -- the most since the first exploration.
"Snow Dragon", the carrier for China's third Arctic expedition, will leave here on Friday as it carries out a mission to observe polar changes and their effects on the country's climate and environment.
The ship is now waiting for its 75-day journey to and from the Arctic at Waigaoqiao dock in Shanghai, the base of China's polar research program.
The team leader is Yuan Shaohong, vice director of the Polar Research Institute, and Zhang Haisheng with the State Oceaning Administration is the chief scientist during the research mission.
China's first arctic exploration was conducted from July 1 to Sept. 9, 1999. It collected information on the Arctic Ocean ecology as well as atmospheric, geologic and fishing conditions.
During the second mission in 2003, Chinese scientists researched the interactions between the Arctic region and the global climate and analyzed the Arctic region's influence on the climate in China. They also set up the country's northernmost temporary observation station.