Icebreaker heads to Antarctica
China’s polar research ship Xue Long, or Snow Dragon, will arrive in eastern Antarctica on Friday on its latest mission to the region. China has built three Antarctic research stations — Great Wall, Zhongshan and Kunlun — but XueLong is the only icebreaking ship in service. Built in Ukraine in 1993, the ship was converted from an Arctic cargo ship to a polar research and resupply vessel by China. Plans are underway to build another polar ship by 2018.