Zhongshan Station

Following the initiative of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn to promote the participation of Thai scientists in polar research projects administrated by the People’s Republic of China (中华人民共和国), on 30th July 2013 the Information Technolgy Foundation under the Initiative of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn together with the Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Administration (CAA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding. The years to follow have seen inconsiderable exchanges of scientific knowledge in many different fields, including geology and oceanography, between the two parties, a promising prospect of Thai scientists presence in polar sciences.

On 6th April 2016, honored by Her Royal Highness presence, a similar MoU signing by the National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand (NARIT) and the Polar Research Institute of China (PRIC) took place in Beijing, to enhance the degree of collaboration in astronomical research between the two institutes.

In 2018, in collaboration with Chiang Mai University, NARIT submitted its first research proposal in astronomy, the Latitude Survey Project, to PRIC. The project aims to obtain the energy spectrum of the incoming cosmic rays, which varies with the latitude where the cosmic rays are detected due to positional dependence of cutoff rigidity (the cosmic rays’ ability to penetrate through the Earth’s magnetosphere). Such cosmic rays leave a profound impact on genetic structures of the living organisms if exposed to an overwhelming amount, thus need be addressed with an utmost urgency.

PRIC, therefore, approves the proposal as mentioned earlier and allows the insulated container ‘Changvan’ to board the icebreaker MV Xue Long (雪龙) or Chinare-35 on its annual journey to several research stations in Antarctica. The ship is scheduled to depart the port of Shanghai on 2 November 2018 and return on 11 March 2019. In the survey year, some problems were preventing us from sending Thai researchers to travel with the icebreaker. The efforts of our research group caused another survey from 21 October 2019 to 22 April 2020. On this occasion, a Thai researcher, Mr. Pongpichit Chuanraksasat, also boarded the icebreaker to ensure that the equipment operates smoothly.

Mr. Pongpichit Chuanraksasat was on board Xue Long icebreaker while traveling to Antarctica.

Inside the container, three independent neutron detectors with developed software to collect data automatically and environment controllers are installed. Relevant technologies and facilities are developed and provided by Chiang Mai University, NARIT, Mahidol University, PRIC, IHEP, Delaware University, Shinshu University, and University of Wisconsin River Falls. The project is led by Dr. Waraporn Nuntiyakul from the Department of Physics and Materials Science, Faculty of Science, Chiang Mai University.