When the Chinese icebreaker research vessel Xue Long, or Snow Dragon, sailed into Lyttelton on 21 February, Ara staff were there to show secondary school teachers and students around the vessel.
Xue Long was in port to off-load passengers, resupply and refuel before sailing back into the Amundsen Sea to carry out a scientific voyage. Xue Long returns home to Shanghai in April, completing her 156-day voyage, covering a staggering 35,843 nautical miles or 66,381 km.
Ara runs a Mission to Antarctica school holiday programme, supported by Antarctica NZ and Fablab, for year 9, 10 and 11 students to explore the physics, technology, engineering and CAD used to build habitats in extreme environments.
Christchurch is an important gateway to Antarctica and this provides opportunities for students to experience the science behind these missions. Ara supported Antarctica NZ to arrange the school visits to Xue Long.
Teachers were also delighted to observe the operation onboard the vessel, which is capable of travelling the harshest of the world’s seas and helping to establish a fifth base for China in the icy continent.
“It was great as an educator to be able to interact with researchers and tour their facilities. I have already shown all my classes photos of the ship and labs and talked about some of the science and collaboration that is taking place. I will also be able to present at an upcoming Science faculty meeting,” John Watson, HoD Physics at Burnside High School, said.
“It is really important that educators have the opportunity to get out of the class and see what researchers are up to so we can inspire students into STEM pathways.”