Credits: ESA/IPEV/PNRA–C. Dangoisse
Dr. Carmen Possnig is the ESA-sponsored medical doctor spending 12 months at Concordia research station in Antarctica. The station is a collaboration between the French Institut Institut Polaire Français Paul-Emile Victor (IPEV) and Italian Programma Nazionale di Richerche Antartide (PNRA). She facilitates a number of experiments on the effects of isolation, light deprivation, and extreme temperatures on the human body and mind. In the following post, Carmen introduces the start of her adventure.
A year somewhere south of the end of the world: Concordia is lovingly called White Mars for a reason. The white desert of the Antarctic plateau surrounds us for hundreds of kilometres; there are never ending horizons as far as the eye can see; the nearest living beings are at least 600 kilometres away; the oxygen content in the air is low, the humidity also extremely low (which makes life even more uncomfortable here), along with the months of darkness, the isolation of the comparatively small crew, the hostile environment surrounding us – all this makes our experience here the best analogue to a base on a foreign planet that exists on Earth.
ESA sends a doctor down here every year to do this ...