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WHU in China’s Antarctic Scientific Expeditions
Author:Wu Xuan & Zhang Ran  Date:2022-11-25  Clicks:

On October 17, three expedition members from Wuhan University (WHU), Yang Yuande, Ding Xi, and Chen Liangyu, departed with the 39th Chinese Antarctic scientific expedition team. Over the course of 40 years, WHU has sent more than 100 people to participate in Chinas 39 Antarctic scientific expeditions. Since Chinas first Antarctic scientific expedition in 1984, WHU has participated in the construction of Great Wall Station, Zhongshan Station, Kunlun Station, and Taishan Station, as well as the first Antarctic inland ice cap scientific expedition and the first Grove Mountains expedition, and has provided strong support and guarantee of services for all Chinese scientific expeditions to Antarctica. Over more than 30 years, WHU has grown together with our countrys Antarctica scientific research and has made remarkable achievements in the scientific exploration of Antarctica.

The first person from WHU to participate in Chinas first Antarctic scientific expedition was Professor E Dongchen in 1984. He reached the South Pole four times and the North Pole twice. He is a pioneer and academic leader of scientific investigation and research in the field of polar surveying, mapping and remote sensing informatics in China, being considered as the Father of China’s polar coordinates mapping. E once said that Antarctic research is a patriotic cause carried forward by generations of WHUers. WHUers have lived up to his high expectations, making outstanding contributions to China's Antarctic scientific research.


E Dongchen at the South Pole

Dr. Zhang Shengkai, who graduated from WHU with a major in geodesy, is now an associate professor at the WHU Chinese Antarctic Center of Surveying and Mapping. He has been to Antarctica three times and the Arctic twice. In the 25th Chinese Antarctic scientific expedition, he reached the summit of Dome A and determined its precise location. This historic moment marked the first time that humans reached the highest point of the Antarctic ice cap.


Zhang Shengkai at Dome A

Prof. Wang Zemin is a professor in the School of Geodesy and Geomatics of WHU and a researcher in the Key Laboratory of the Chinese Antarctic Center of Surveying and Mapping. During the 26th Antarctic scientific expedition, he surveyed the subglacial topography of the Grove Mountains and determined the elevation of Mason Nunatak, the highest peak of the Grove Mountains, at 2,365 meters. The determination of the elevation of Mason Nunatak solved a long-standing question in geography over the area of the Grove Mountains.


Working on sea ice

For every piece of scientific research, students and faculty members have carried out many tasks, including GNSS tracking station observations, high-altitude atmospheric physics observations, meteorological and floating ice observations, and the construction of the permanent tide gauge at the Great Wall Station. They have crossed more than 30,000 nautical miles and spent more than 500 days in Antarctica. Many of them have experienced symptoms of biological clock disruption, mental confusion and depression, but they never regretted their participation. It is the supreme honor of our Antarctic research members to work for the future of mankind, said one of the young team members.

Rewritten by Xie Yifei

Edited by Li Jing, Zhao Linshan, Zhang Yilin, Sylvia, Xi Bingqing


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