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RE: South Pole Expedition
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China is building its third research station in Antarctica, shoring up its presence just weeks after the UK and Chile made renewed territorial claims.
Almost 200 construction workers are heading for the southern continent.
They will build facilities including a space observatory, radar station and sewage discharge system.

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Although China hasn't sent any space craft to the moon or Mars yet, it has got three stones from them.

"Chinese explorers found nearly 10,000 stones fallen from space in the Antarctic area, including one from the moon and two from the Mars" - Ouyang Ziyuan, a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, at the ongoing 36th Committee on Space Research Scientific Assembly here Friday.

Altogether there are only 26 confirmed lunar meteorites known.

Source Xinhua

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The 11 members of the China Antarctic Expedition team accomplished their research mission to Grove Mountains and returned to Zhongshan Station yesterday, China News Service reported.

During the 58-day expedition, the members collected a record-high 5,354 meteorite samples. They also collected geological data which will facilitate the future compilation of a geologic map of Prydz Bay, a deep embayment in Antarctica between the Lars Christensen Coast and Ingrid Christensen Coast.
This mission is the summer section of China's 22nd expedition to the Antarctic. It lasted from November 2005 to mid-February 2006, and the winter section commenced on February 15 and will not be finished until November of this year.

"We have finished most of our research projects on Grove Mountains. Some were completed ahead of the schedule. And no accidents happened" - Yang Huigen, Deputy Captain of the expedition and Deputy Director of China Polar Research Centre.

As one of the most magnificent areas of the Antarctic, Grove Mountains (7245′S 750′E) is a large, scattered group of mountains and nunataks extending over an area of approximately 65 by 32 kilometres, located 460km from Zhongshan Station, China's first Antarctic expedition base.
Grove Mountains is notorious for severe weather conditions. Expedition team members work under a temperature of -25C and are prone to hazards caused by ice calving.

"We are heavily influenced by gales in the area, in which visibility is down to nil. We can't even make out the vehicles in front of us"- Yang Huigen

The expedition team will depart for China aboard the survey ship "Xuelong" on February 26, the report said. It is estimated that they will arrive in Shanghai on March 28.

Source ShanghaiDaily

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China Polar Report
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China's State Oceanic Administration has recently issued the 2005 China Polar Exploration Report, the first of its kind since the country started scientific exploration activities in the North and South Poles more than 20 years ago.
China's polar exploration has been under continuous development and has taken an initial shape, forming a scientific system of North and South Pole explorations, known as the "three stations and one vessel".
Currently, scientific researchers are doing feasibility study on the establishment of China's third South Pole Exploration Station. It will be their first inland exploration station in the South Pole.

The existing "three stations and one vessel" comprise of the Antarctic Great Wall Station set up in February 1985, the Zhongshan Station in the Antarctic in February 1989, the Arctic Yellow River Station in July 2004 and the Xuelong scientific exploring ship, which has undertaken exploration tasks in the North and South poles since 1994.

It is hoped that China will issue a polar exploration report each year in the future.

Source: People's Daily

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Grove Mountains
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The expedition is now conducting a geological survey of the Grove Mountain in Antarctica.
They are also drafting a geological map, which will show the geological features of the area.
The expedition team hope to study every accessible peak that is not covered by ice and snow, and collect and analyse rock samples from each site.


Grove Mountains (7245′S 750′E) is a large, scattered group of mountains and nunataks extending over an area of approximately 40 by 20 miles, located 100 miles east of Mawson Escarpment in Antarctica.

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22nd Antarctica expedition
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Since their first discovery of a meteorite on January 1, 2006, the explorers with China's 22nd Antarctica expedition have so far found 150 meteorites on the Grove Mountains.
According to Dr. Ju Yitai, captain of the team stationed on the Grove Mountains, some of the meteorites discovered are of rare types. The biggest one weighs 901g.

Meteorite collection is an important mission for the explorers.
They aim to discover new types and increase China's collection of Antarctica meteorites. They are also seeking unknown meteorite-intensive areas in the enrichment areas formed through glacier movement and melt.
Meteorite collection is the main task for the expedition during the first 20 days.
With improving weather, most team members have joined the collection apart from other work. In the past couple of days, they picked as many as 30 pieces each day. On January 7, 70 pieces were found.

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22nd Antarctic Expedition
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A Chinese polar expedition ship, the Xuelong ("snow dragon"), carrying one hundred and fifteen Chinese scientists departed the Shanghai Minsheng Port for the South Pole at 10:25 a.m. on Friday, and started China's 22nd Antarctic scientific expedition.



Dr. Yang Huigen, vice director of China Polar Region Research Centre, said the team will make research on the data collected at China's Changcheng and Zhongshan stations and tour the hinterland of the ice cap during their 130-day expedition.
The expedition projects include monitoring the environment in Antarctic, inspecting the geology in the iceless zones, making an international joint testing of GPS and doing other researches on the glaciers and biology in the region.

The team will also launch China's fourth inspection of the world famous Grove Mountain in one month time, said Yang, who was appointed chief scientist of the team.
Situated inside the Princess Elizabeth Land, Grove Mountain is located about 460 kilometres from China's Zhongshan Station.
The 3200-square-km area is composed of more than 60 islands and mountains which are not covered by ice and snow, and it is regarded one of the most spectacular areas in the South Pole.

The researchers will collect and study the aerolites and carry out climate and geological researches in the Grove Mountain area.

During the past three explorations, Chinese scientists have collected 4,480 meteorites in the Grove Mountain.
This new expedition will also do some researches and investigate the area for the establishment of China's third scientific station in Antarctic.
The team is composed of 144 members in total and is headed by Wei Wenliang, secretary of the Chinese Communist Party for State Oceanic Administration's polar region inspection office.

China founded its first scientific expedition station Changcheng Station on King George Island in 1985 and established the second Zhongshan Station on Larsemann Hills in 1989.

The team are expected to return to Shanghai by the end of March in 2006.

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South Pole Expedition
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China is expected to launch the 22nd exploration to the South Pole in November, aiming primarily to collect meteorites on the Grove Mountain area.
After scaling Dome A - the highest ice cap in Antarctica - late last year, Chinese scientists will focus on inland research in the Antarctic area this time.
The expedition will mainly focus on three research fields including polar area upper atmospheric physics, aerolithology and oceanography.

Yang Huigen, deputy director of the Shanghai-based Polar Research Institute of China, and scientist leading the expedition, said in an interview with a Shanghai newspaper that the scientific expedition will last for more than four months.

In addition to searching for meteorites, the expedition team will also investigate the feasibility of setting up China's third scientific station in Antarctica.
So far, China has built two scientific stations in Antarctica, the Great Wall Station and the Zhongshan Station.
The collection of meteorites will focus on the area of Grove Mountain, 460 kilometres to China's Zhongshan Station on the coast, which is abundant in meteorites. Chinese scientists have collected a total of 4,480 pieces of meteorites in previous explorations.

"Located between Dome A and Zhongshan Station, Mount Groves area is famous for its rich aerolith resources. Chinese scientists have collected more than 4,480 pieces of aerolith in that area, including some precious ones such as aeroliths from the Mars" - Yang Huigen.

At present, the United States has more than 9,000 pieces of meteorites, and Japan has about 20,000 pieces.
Scientists believe that meteorites will offer lots of information on the evolution of the solar system. The special environment at the South Pole has helped preserve the meteorites, which because they are typically more than 100,000 years old, are especially valuable to scientific research.

Chinese scientists will also take part in international Antarctic research under ice lakes and into global warming.

Sixty-five-year-old Yan Qide, a member of China's first Antarctic expedition team, said travelling to Antarctica by ordinary people has become possible.
Currently, more than 10,000 international tourists visit Antarctica annually. The Antarctic Great Wall Station receives more than 1,000 visitors every year.
Ge Jianxiong, a professor with Fudan University who has taken part in the 17th Chinese Antarctic expedition, said it is feasible to develop tourism in Antarctica properly.
Yan emphasized that the last pure land on the earth should be well protected in tourism development.



The expedition is expected to start on November 20 from Shanghai, aboard the Xuelong (Snow Dragon) ship, a polar science research icebreaker. Dozens of scientists in various fields including polar glaciology, upper atmospheric physics, bioecology and physical oceanography are expected to participate in the expedition. The research ship can hold up to 128 passengers, including 40 crew members.

An oceanographics survey will also be made during the one-month journey from Shanghai to Zhongshan Station.

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