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China to build space observatory at South Pole

CHINA'S only icebreaker Xuelong (Snow Dragon) returned to its Shanghai base today after Chinese scientists completed a geographic survey on Dome A, the highest elevation in the South Pole.

Officials from the Polar Research Institute of China said the scientists carried out a series of research on Antarctic marine system, the South Pole climate and astronomy, but choosing a location for an observatory was their main task.

"Dome A is the best choice for an observatory concerning its location and environment," said Zeng Honghui from the institute. "Research found Dome A has the best sky view on earth. Good visibility is the deciding factor for setting up an astronomical telescope."

He said the telescope installed in the Dome A observatory can function like a space telescope.

Officials said the construction plan has been approved by the Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research and has passed an international environmental evaluation.

Other countries and international organizations are also planning to build observatories in other positions at the South Pole, officials said.


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