Dr. Carole Dangoisse was the ESA-sponsored medical doctor spending 12 months at Concordia research station in Antarctica. She facilitated a number of experiments on the effects of isolation, light deprivation, and extreme temperatures on the human body and mind. In the following post, Carole discusses a “raid” in Antarctica.
Credit: ESA/IPEV/PNRA-C. Dangoisse
Soon enough, I discover that the arrival of each raid is a significant event for the whole station and is eagerly awaited.
A raid team is most often composed of six to eight drivers, one of whom is a doctor and is responsible for cooking the meals for everyone. The majority of the other drivers are mechanics, which ensures the team can handle maintenance of the vehicles and any urgent repairs.
The vehicles are submitted to very rough conditions, cautiously crawling on the snow track in extreme cold temperatures, whilst pulling many tons of cargo on sledges. The leading vehicle is equipped with powerful projectors worthy of a football field, whilst the last vehicle tows a snow groomer to level the track and ensure it is safe for the return voyage.
The drivers cover about 1000 km in 10 days, driving for hours on a monotonous white ...