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China Sends Astronomers to New Antarctica Observatory to "Probe Origins of Dark Matter and Extraterrestrial Life"




China is close to completing construction of an astronomical observatory at the highest point on the Antarctic plateau, as a team begins the 33rd Chinese expedition to the frozen continent, the official Xinhua news agency reported Wednesday. The missions to the South Pole are intended to shed light on the origin of dark matter, as well as extraterrestrial life.

The four astronomers aboard the research icebreaker Xuelong (Snow Dragon) have about 100 projects planned for the next nearly six months of travel, although they will have only 20 days to work at Kunlun base, Xinhua reported, citing one of the scientists.




China has sent astronomers to the region every year since 2007 to set up an observatory on Dome Argus, or Dome A, some 1,200 km (nearly 750 miles) from the nearest coast and whose highest point is around 4,093 meters (over 13,400 ft.) above sea level.

In 2007, China built the Kunlun station, located 7.3 km from Dome A, where it has been making preparations since for its future observation center.


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The image above shows China's fourth Antarctic research base, the Taishan station, between its two existing Zhongshan and Kunlun stations at an altitude of 2,600 meters.

China currently has an automated astronomical observation platform at Dome A and is planning to build a high-elevation Antarctic terahertz telescope, though further details remain unknown.

The Daily Galaxy via Xinhua 


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