Want to help humanity’s exploration of our Solar System? Do you have a medical degree and are not afraid of the dark or the cold? ESA is looking for someone to spend over six months in Antarctica running research to prepare for missions to the Moon and Mars.
The Italian–French Concordia research station sits on an Antarctic plateau 3200 m above sea level. So far south, the Sun does not rise above the horizon in the winter for four months. There is reduced oxygen in the air and temperatures outside can drop to –80°C.
Its unique location and extreme conditions resemble aspects of living on another planet. You will not be alone, however – up to 15 people spend the winter in Antarctica keeping the station running with scientists working on glaciology, astronomy and climate studies.
There are no deliveries for six months, leaving the Concordia crew in isolation. Emergencies need to be handled on their own – much like astronauts in space.
ESA sends a medical doctor each year to research how humans adapt to living so far from home. Experiments include observing the crew’s morale, tracking their skills over time and monitoring how their bodies cope with the change of rhythm and closed environment.
ESA’s Jennifer Ngo-Anh says: “Each year we ask for applications from any of the 22 ESA member states.
“The experiments they run for us offer great insights into how astronauts will behave on long missions, and the stay in Antarctica is an adventure of a lifetime.”