China plans to conduct its 21st Antarctica scientific expedition this October, one year after the previous one is completed.
The 21st Antarctica scientific expedition is set from Oct 25, 2004 to March 25, 2005. About 130 members will take part in the 150-day expedition, says Zhang Zhanhai, Director of the Polar Region Research Center.
In accordance with the State Oceanic Administration's reply to the Plan of the 21st Antarctica Scientific Expeidition, the team will carry out studies on icecap on the way from the Zhongshan station to Dome A. The study will serve as preparatory work for choosing a site for the station to be built in inland of Antarctica.
The "Dome A" plan is expected to last 70 days. The scientists will go 1,300 kilometers deep into the inland of Antarctica, during which they will set up landmarks en route. They will also build a comprehensive testing system for climate and glacier. The system will offer support and experience to logistics and operation for the future station in inland. The team will also try to reach the highest point of the Dome A, where a temporary observatory station will be put up.
Building a station at the icecap of the Antarctica shows a country's comprehensive strength and level of scientific research. So far only a few countries in the world have established stations in this region. Building a station at symbolic places, i.e. South Pole, the South magnetic pole, not only enhances a country's influence on Antarctica affairs, but also has significance in science research.
Dome A is the farthest dome away from the coastline in the inland Antarctica. It is also the region of the highest altitude. The extremely inclement climate wins it a name "unapproachable pole". At present no one has arrived at the Dome on land to conduct systemic scientific study. It is therefore a blank region in Antarctica scientific study.
China has completed four icecap studies in Antarctica so far. Its third expedition team has approached the Dome A in their study from 1998 to 1999.
By People's Daily Online