The next crew to live and work at the Concordia Antarctic research station arrive in the white desert. ESA-sponsored medical doctor Floris van den Berg will take over experiments for future spaceflight from Beth Healey, who has been at the base for almost a year.
The French–Italian Concordia lies 3200 m above sea level and is extremely isolated – its closest neighbour is the Russian Vostok base 600 km to the north. The crew of up to 15 are on their own during the winter because the –80°C temperatures and the weather prevent aircraft landings.
The international crew, limited oxygen, extreme weather, isolation and cramped conditions make living at Concordia similar to future long space missions. Floris, from the Netherlands, will continue running international research for ESA on how the crew’s bodies and minds adapt to the stresses as they work and maintain the station.