Beijing: China's 32nd scientific expedition to Antarctica is scheduled to set off on Saturday from Shanghai.
The icebreaker "Xuelong", meaning snow dragon in English, will carry a 277-member expedition team and cover about 30,000 nautical miles in the 159-day expedition, the team's deputy chief Sun Bo said on Thursday.
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, Xinhua news agency quoted Sun as saying.
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.
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 re-supply 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 Changcheng, remove and transport garbage from Zhongshan and Kunlun stations, and help Australia to ship cargo.