A hard day’s night

7 May 2013

Concordia research station in the heart of Antarctica witnessed its last sunset for over three months last Sunday. From here on they will work and live under artificial lighting as they survive and conduct research at the remotest base on Earth.

As the Sun sets the crew’s adventure really starts, putting a strain on morale and the team but with the promise of beautiful night skies. Crewmember Antonio Litterio describes his feelings on the Concordia blog: “The night brings darkness, promising a blackness to put fear in us, but also supplying a great spectacle – the stars, the Milky Way and something even more amazing.”

From glaciology to seismology and astronomy, scientists spend time in secluded Concordia because its environment is preserved from the effects of human civilisation. The nearest living beings are some 600 km away at the Russian Vostok base.

ESA sponsors a research doctor each year to study the effects of isolation on the crew. Living in isolation without sunlight in small quarters is similar in many ways to a long voyage on a spacecraft.

Read about the experience of extreme living from the crewmembers themselves on the Concordia blog.

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