Paris (ESA) Apr 26, 2011
They are more cut off than the crew of the International Space Station. They are at Concordia in Antarctica, and one of them is ESA researcher Eoin Macdonald-Nethercott. If you want to follow in his footsteps, ESA is looking for his successor.
The flat landscape around the Concordia research station is 3200 m above sea level and virtually inaccessible from February to November. During the southern winter, Concordia is under almost total darkness. With temperatures down to -85 degrees C and the thin air, aircraft can't land and snow tractors can't reach the station.
Eoin arrived in November in a rugged Twin Otter aircraft, hunched in a cramped seat behind a large battered aluminium case, flying over a flat desert of snow. They made a bumpy landing at the second attempt on the icy strip.
"So this is my home for the next 363 days," thought Eoin, a medical doctor from Scotland, looking at the station's two domes.
He applied last year for the almost-out-of-this-world opportunity as ESA's member of the station's winter crew - an 'hivernaut' as they call themselves, after the French word for winter.
ESA uses Concordia as a laboratory for fundamental research into many subjects important for human missions to the Moon or Mars, like coping with stress and changes in the immune system, blood clotting and changes in the circadian rhythms.
ESA also supports the French Polar Institute and the Italian Antarctic Programme, the station operators, in medical monitoring, testing life-support technologies and psychological training of crews.
A fantastic adventure
"The research I'm doing is looking at how our environment here affects our thinking, mood and sleep quality, and whether good exercise helps with all these things," explains Eoin.
"With a bunch of astronomers and cosmologists, just plain nightowls, and on the one hand with a technical crew that is up bright and early for a respectable 8am to 6pm working day on the other, any semblance of normality disintegrates."
Eoin writes about a typical day at the Concordia station in his letter from Antarctica. His own blog talks of eyelashes instantly freezing together and plumbers who make good phlebotomists.
Share This Article With Planet Earth
Beyond the Ice Age
West Antarctic Warming Triggered By Warmer Sea Surface In Tropical Pacific
Seattle WA (SPX) Apr 14, 2011
The Antarctic Peninsula has warmed rapidly for the last half-century or more, and recent studies have shown that an adjacent area, continental West Antarctica, has steadily warmed for at least 30 years, but scientists haven't been sure why. New University of Washington research shows that rising sea surface temperatures in the area of the Pacific Ocean along the equator and near the Intern ... read more
Russia, Ukraine leaders mourn Chernobyl nightmare|
Chernobyl survivor warns of 'bombshell' in Japan
Belarus leader fumes over Chernobyl anniversary
Japan says Fukushima 'different from Chernobyl'
Researchers Discover Optical Secrets of Metallic Beetles
Sony challenges iPad in tablet war
A scratched coating heals itself
Primordial fear: why radiation is so scary
VIMS study shows propeller turbulence may affect marine food webs
US welcomes delay in controversial Mekong dam
Development in fog harvesting process
Scotland's first marine reserve already producing benefits
Calling all candidates for Concordia
Melting ice on Arctic islands a major player in sea level rise
ESA-NASA Collaboration Furthers Sea-Ice Research
Melting ice on Arctic islands boosts sea levels: study
Rural development gets help from the sky
Rising food costs could fuel Asian poverty
Can biochar help suppress greenhouse gases
Rotten meat doesn't stand a chance
Rain is Colombia's 'worst' natural disaster: Santos
'Right' to shut down air space over Iceland volcano: study
One injured in Indonesian quake
Japan launches new mass search for bodies
Nigeria holds final polls despite violence
Burkina Faso president assumes defence post
Work on Sudan split continues
Chinese aid good for Africa: ministers
Evolution of human 'super-brain' tied to development of bipedalism, tool-making
Berlusconi, Sarkozy meet over migrants
Pope urges 'solidarity' with refugees from conflict
Walker's World: Europe's frontiers close
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement|