Dr. Nadja Albertsen is the ESA-sponsored medical doctor spending 12 months at Concordia research station in Antarctica. She facilitates a number of experiments on the effects of isolation, light deprivation, and extreme temperatures on the human body and mind.
Soyuz simulator. Credits: ESA/IPEV/PNRA: N. Albertsen
I lean farther and farther to the left. It does not help. I try to keep a neutral expression on my face and grit my teeth, partly to stop myself from giving a helpful tip.
A few minutes later it is over. The Soyuz module has hit the right docking port on the International Space Station, but was turned 90 degrees to one side. In other words, it crashed.
The Russians are not happy.
My French colleague is frustrated and expresses it in French phrases for a short while and I try to ask, pedagogically, whether he is aware of what went wrong. He is not. I explain and illustrate with an empty glass that does not resemble a Soyuz in the least, and finally he breaks into a big laugh. He had probably wondered why I suddenly leaned all the way to one side.
We are in a room with shelves of duvet ...