Dr. Carole Dangoisse is this year’s ESA-sponsored medical doctor spending 12 months at Concordia research station in Antarctica. She is facilitating a number of experiments on the effects of isolation, light deprivation, and extreme temperatures on the human body and mind. In the following post, she summarises some of the experiments as well as the training she received to prepare her for a year on the frozen continent.
Iceberg swimming pools. Credits: ESA/IPEV/PNRA–D. Schmitt
Learning the tricks of the job
The whirlwind of the various training started in mid-August 2016.
I first went to Munich to meet the team of CHO2ICE-II (Consequences of longterm-Confinement and Hypobaric HypOxia on Immunity in the antarctic Concordia Environment), led by Prof Alexander Choukèr at the Hospital of the University of Munich. This experiment focuses on the immune system response and (mal) adaptation to the stress winter-overers are exposed to.
We will be under harsh conditions: living at the equivalent of almost 3800 metres of altitude with hypobaric hypoxic conditions, in a desert of ice where the mean yearly temperature is -50°C; submitted to the polar night with almost no sunlight for 3 months, in complete isolation for 9 months with the impossibility to be ...