Enjoying a last sunset near Concordia research station in Antarctica. The base is located on a plateau 3200 m above sea level. A place of extremes, temperatures can drop to –80°C in the winter, with a yearly average temperature of –50°C.
As Concordia lies at the very southern tip of Earth, the Sun does not rise above the horizon in the winter and does not set in the summer. The crew must live without sunlight for four months of the year.
In the great open landscape covered in darkness, colours, smells and sounds are almost non-existent, adding to the sense of loneliness.
The isolation and sensory deprivation can wreak havoc on crewmembers’ biological clock, making it hard to get a good night’s sleep.
The base is so unlike anything found elsewhere in the world that ESA participates in the Italian-French base to research future missions to other planets, using the base as a model for extraterrestrial planets.