Sat, March 06, 2010
Sci-Tech > Science

China's 26th Antarctic expedition team departs for home

2010-03-06 07:24:35 GMT2010-03-06 15:24:35 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

ABOARD XUELONG, March 5 (Xinhua) -- China's 26th Antarctic expedition team embarked its home journey on Friday after completing all scientific research and logistic tasks.

Leaving China's Antarctic Zhongshan station at 20 p.m. local time on Friday, the 100 plus-crew team started their voyage back on the Xuelong (snow dragon) icebreaker.

During their stay at Zhongshan station, the team has conducted 12 scientific research projects concerning the fields of remote sensing, glaciology, biology and aerophysics, including the first large-scale unmanned aerial vehicle observations of the ocean and icebergs, the first field spectral collection, and establishing a permanent tide station in the Antarctica.

Two squads of the team members also conducted fruitful research in ice-drilling, astronomy, mapology and geophysics in the areas of inland Antarctica and the inland's Grove Mountain for 55 days.

Meanwhile, additional infrastructure of the Zhongshan station is under construction. These new buildings, measuring 3,800 square meters and part of which has been put into service, will function in space observation, wastes disposal, and garage.

Yuan Shaohong, leader of the expedition team, said they would return home in early April as scheduled if all conditions permit. Their ship will have to sail again through the stormy belt of westerlies, known as the "roaring forties" or the "brave west winds."

Setting out from Shanghai on Oct. 11, 2009, the Chinese expedition team has done scientific research covering all China's three Antarctic stations -- Changcheng, Zhongshan and Kunlun -- along its entire voyage, the first time in China's Antarctic exploration history.

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