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China to send science team to Antarctic to study feasibility of 5th station

By Yu Jialan (Global Times)    08:10, October 31, 2016

China will send a science team to the Antarctic on Wednesday for the nation's 33rd exploration, with the aim to find a suitable venue for its fifth research station amid the challenge of thinner air on high altitude.

The team consisting of approximately 260 members will spend about 161 days on the exploration, traveling 31,000 nautical miles (57,400 kilometers). They aim to locate the fifth research station, Xu Shijie, head of Policy Planning Office of the Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Administration, told the Global Times on Sunday.

"Compared with our previous expeditions, we are exploring a larger swath of area this time," Xu said.

He expects the fifth research center will be set up by 2017.

The team will carry the icebreaker Xuelong, or Snow Dragon, from Shanghai. The research team will face the challenge of taking off and landing from the Kunlun station, one of the four research stations which is at an altitude of 4,000 meters, said Xu, one of the team leaders.

In view of the high altitude, the team has upgraded their equipment, some of which will be brought for the expedition for the first time, said Xu.

Since the team's 29th expedition in 2013, they have been looking for a place with favorable geographic and meteorological features, logistics supply, amicable surrounding environment and the potential value for scientific research to establish the fifth station, according to Xu.

China has built four research stations in Antarctica, such as Changcheng, Zhongshan and Taishan. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Yuan Can, Bianji)

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