China’s first fixed-wing aircraft for polar flight Snow Eagle 601 has completed its aerial exploration mission to explore key areas above the East Antarctica Ice Sheet, during China’s 35th scientific expedition to the region.
The Chinese researchers with the help of Snow Eagle 601 conducted large-scale air-borne radar, gravity and magnetic observations at the Ice Divide of East Antarctica, the icy Princess Elizabeth Land, the Amery Ice Shelf and other areas.
“The expedition is of great scientific significance for figuring out the geological and environmental problems of these areas. It is also of major scientific value for finding the oldest ice core on Earth and making discoveries including the geological evolution of the suture zone within East Antarctica,” said Sun Bo, deputy director of the Polar Research Institute of China and deputy head of the team.
“Snow Eagle 601 has completed, for the first time in history, an aerial exploration mission at key areas above the East Antarctica Ice Sheet, which will contribute to studying the evolution and stabilizing mechanism of the ice sheet, and uncovering the ‘source code’ of paleoclimatic environmental change on Earth,” Sun added.
The aircraft also served as a logistics support between Zhongshan, Taishan and Kunlun stations, and provided supplies for the latter two inland research stations.