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China Concludes 39th Antarctic Expedition as Ships Return

China’s research icebreaker Xuelong 2, or Snow Dragon 2, returned to Shanghai on Thursday, marking the end of the country’s 39th Antarctic expedition.

Two icebreakers participated in the Antarctic expedition, with the Xuelong arriving in Shanghai on Monday. This is the third time that China has sent two icebreakers to the Antarctic since the 36th polar expedition.

The icebreakers embarked on the scientific trip in late October 2022, and traveled more than 60,000 nautical miles over the past 163 days.

The trip involved a range of tasks, including researches on the global climate change, as well as the replenishment of materials and staff rotation at China’s Zhongshan Station and Great Wall Station in the South Pole.

With a total length of about 122 meters, a width of about 22 meters, a designed displacement of nearly 14,000 tonnes and an endurance of 20,000 nautical miles, Xuelong 2 is China’s first domestically built icebreaker for polar research.