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Crew member's reunion

ONE of the scientists crewing China's only icebreaker, Snow Dragon, finally got to kiss his newborn daughter yesterday, after the vessel came into port.

Among the crowds welcoming the polar research ship at Shanghai Waigaoqiao Port was Pang Hongxi's wife, holding their baby girl in her arms.

After a 173-day voyage, the 204-person team wound up the nation's 25th Antarctic exploration mission.

Part of this mission saw the establishment of Kunlun Station, China's third Antarctic research post on Dome A, the highest inland point of the South Pole.

"We will spend five years improving its capability to support scientists so they can spend entire winters living at the base," said Li Yuansheng, one of the leading scientists on the team. "So far, it will only be used as a summer station allowing 20 to 25 scientists to conduct research. We will also install a telescope at the station in the coming years."

The scientists carried out 39 experiments to study the climate, ecology, biology, and geology of the South Pole, as well as making astronomical observations.

"Most of our work focused on climate change and Antarctic geology," said Qin Weijia, vice team leader.

"We experienced more abnormal weather during this mission. Temperatures were warmer on average and there was more melted ice, more cloudy days and then some of the coldest days in recent years. Climate change has made things more unpredictable."


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