Summer is the time to head to the beach with family and friends to enjoy lazy, warm days together.
But at the same time as our planet’s northern hemisphere basks in sunlight, the south is engulfed by winter.
The extreme is Antarctica, where the handful of research bases are places of solitude and waiting. The Franco–Italian Concordia outpost is one of these. Here, ESA takes part in research and operations by providing the base doctor each year. ‘Overnighting’ in Antarctica is close to being on the International Space Station, making it an excellent location to try out technologies and techniques for spaceflight.
This year, ESA’s Concordia blog describing the life and work of the overnighting crew is being written by Italian electronics technician Antonio Litterio. He writes about this week’s image: “I went out to take photos and I tasted the icy wind, the snow whipping up to cut my face, and the darkness that swallows you up completely.
“I feel winter even when I look the mirror. I can’t pretend otherwise: I’m exhausted, maybe because I’m living this experience so deeply. I’m living the isolation and the Antarctic. I feel a little like those huge icebergs that lie immobile, sleeping, trapped in a sea of ice and utterly alone.
“Winter is stasis. But I won’t give up and I’m more convinced than ever of my decision to come here. Why? Because after every night comes the day, even if it’s only little by little, as it is here. At midday, I look out of the window and watch the Sun getting closer. Light glows on the horizon, even if just briefly. But it has a majestic power and in that moment I know that the ice will slowly give way to the open sea, it will leave space for our return, space for serenity, space for these gigantic icebergs to move freely once more.”
This first ray of light at Concordia will arrive on 10 August. While waiting, you can read Antonio’s full text as you listen to the atmospheric music he provides, available on the Concordia blog.