Credits: ESA/IPEV/PNRA-F. van den Berg
The French-Italian Concordia research station in Antarctica, maintained and operated by the French and Italian polar institutes IPEV and PNRA, is one of the most remote base on Earth. Situated not only near the South Pole, but also at 3300 meters above sea level, Concordia is one of only three inland bases inhabited all year around. Given the altitude, the crew is subjected to long exposure of hypoxia and during the winter they go through 100 days of straight darkness, when temperatures can reach –80°C and wind can blow up to 300 km/h.
Antarctica seen by ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst from Space Station. Credits: ESA/NASA
During the harsh winter the crew lives in confinement and isolation, it is extremely difficult and risky to reach the base in case of any emergency so the crew have to solve any problems on their own. In many ways, the crew in Concordia are space pioneers as much as astronauts: they live for eight months in complete isolation. They are confined to a small space and share with people they did not know before. Their circadian rhythms are completely altered as they go through 100 days of straight darkness ...