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25 Years of Antarctic Exploration
Special> 25 Years of Antarctic Exploration
UPDATED: April 17, 2009 NO. 16 APR. 23, 2009
The Need to Know

Antarctica is a clean landscape that has never been developed or polluted, a place full of mysteries and information. In order to unlock the secrets of this vast expanse of ice, since Captain James Cook of Britain first undertook his Antarctic expedition in the 1870s, the region has attracted a huge number of explorers and scientists, who brave an inhospitable climate to carry out exploration and scientific research. Since the early 20th century, 28 countries have set up 72 scientific research stations on the frozen continent.

The year 2009 marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of China's Antarctic scientific research station and of China's Antarctic scientific exploration. Since the beginning of Antarctic research in the 1980s, China has built Changcheng Station, Zhongshan Station and this year we have seen the establishment of the Kunlun Station. China has gained much valuable data from its scientific research and polar mapping, solving many mysteries in the process.

The biggest achievement of the 25th Antarctic expedition is that the expedition team set up Kunlun Station, which is China's first inland station, in the Dome A area on the top of the Antarctic hinterland. The establishment of Kunlun Station is a result of years of efforts by the expedition team, enabling China among the top polar research countries. China has become the seventh country that has built an inland station in Antarctica, following the United States, Russia, Japan, France, Italy and Germany.

Antarctica is the fifth largest continent on Earth, covering an area of 14 million square km. Antarctica is the land of extremes. It is the coldest, driest, windiest and highest continent. It is also the furthest continent away from civilization. Even now, no one claims sovereignty over this land and it remains undeveloped. The special geographic position, the complicated historical background and rich natural and scientific resources make Antarctica an important area, politically, economically, militarily and scientifically.

With the establishment of Kunlun Station, China plans to gradually conduct scientific research in glaciology, astronomy, geology, geophysics, atmospheric science and space physics. The plan covers astronomic and geomagnetic observation, remote sensing, satellite data reception, human medical research and medical security research, as well as the drilling of the ice core of glaciers and of mountain ranges under ice.

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