SHANGHAI — Chinese icebreaker “Xuelong,” meaning Snow Dragon in English, is scheduled to set off on Nov 7 from Shanghai for the country’s 32nd scientific expedition to Antarctica.
The icebreaker, carrying a 277-member expedition team, will cover about 30,000 nautical miles in the 159-day expedition, the team’s deputy chief Sun Bo said at a press conference on Nov 5.
The team will conduct the final survey for the country’s fifth Antarctic station site at Victoria Land on the Ross Sea, mapping the site and assessing the ecological and environmental impact, Sun said.
During the mission, China’s first fixed-wing aircraft for polar flight will conduct trials around Larsemann Hills, Grove Mountains and China’s Kunlun Station in the Antarctic region while carrying out pilot airborne remote sensing and telemetry tasks, according to Sun.
Team members will conduct comprehensive polar research around the Chinese stations of Changcheng, Zhongshan, Taishan and Kunlun, as well as in areas including Prydz Bay, Ross Sea, Amundsen Sea and the Antarctic Peninsula.
The expedition team is expected to reach China’s Zhongshan and Changcheng stations via Australia first. Then after a resupply in Chile, it will reach Australia’s Casey Station via Victoria Land before going back to Zhongshan Station.
The team will also remove an abandoned shelter in the Changcheng Station, remove and transport garbage from Zhongshan and Kunlun stations, and help Australia to ship cargo from the Australian port of Fremantle to Casey Station.