Wanted: doctors who are not afraid of the dark
Do you have a medical degree and would like to work in an almost-out-of-this-world environment? ESA is sponsoring a crewmember with a medical background to spend the Antarctic winter of 2013 in the Concordia research station.
Concordia is built on an ice plateau 3200 m up in one of the remotest places on Earth. It hosts many research projects, including meteorology, glaciology, astronomy and human biology.
Concordia is impossible to reach or leave during the winter months and any problems have to be solved by the crew on their own.
To add to the isolation, the base experiences over four months of complete darkness when the Sun never appears over the horizon.
At the moment, 13 crewmembers are at the station and preparing for the long period of darkness. Read about their experience on the Concordia blog.
Space station on Earth
ESA’s main interest is in understanding how our bodies and minds adapt to extreme environments, knowledge that helps us to cope with the challenges of long flights aboard the International Space Station and future missions to Mars.
Physiological and psychological data are collected from all Concordia crewmembers during their stays.
Concordia resembles a space station in many ways because of the isolation and stress, so ESA began cooperating in 2002 with the station’s builders and operators: the French Polar Institute and the Italian Antarctic Programme.