Flying robot to aid China Antarctic expedition

BEIJING (Reuters) - A robot that can fly “like a mini-helicopter” and a second that can glide across ice will aid Chinese scientists during an Antarctic expedition slated for October, Xinhua news agency reported on Sunday.

The airborne robot can fly for an hour at speeds of 50 to 100 kilometres an hour and will be equipped with a camera and an infrared radiometer for observing ice on the sea.

The second robot can slide across ice crevasses and snowy slopes, the report said.

“The use of robots can reduce the risks and costs in scientific research,” Xinhua quoted Qin Weijia, of the Polar Research Institute of China, as saying. “No matter how bad the weather is, they can still work normally.”

The 200-strong expedition team will set up seismic stations in Antarctica to measure tremors and tectonic movements on the continent, the report said.