The never-ending ice. Credits: ESA/IPEV/PNRA–C. Dangoisse
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.
Like astronauts whose bones and muscles do not have to resist gravity in space, being stranded indoors most of the time during the winter means we are at risk of “wasting” away.
The stress related to our isolation can also have negative effects. The previous crew is a living testimony of the hardships of spending a full winter in Antarctica: they have all lost weight and sometimes in significant amounts.
I am intent on devising a special programme to stay fit. I start mildly, doing one hour-long stretching lessons led by the station leader, Nicolas, on Sunday mornings. Self-defense courses follow, given by the station’s summer military doctor. I also try out one of the indoor bikes. Will I ever be able to do more than puff away after just a few metres?
Speed limits still in place. Credits: ESA/IPEV/PNRA–C. Dangoisse