The remote Antarctic research station Concordia witnessed its last sunset for over three months last Sunday. From here on they will work and live under artificial lighting as they survive and conduct research at the remotest base on Earth. Image © IPEV/PNRA–A. Litterio
ESA sponsors a medical research doctor in Concordia every winter to study the long-term effects of isolation.
The base is 3200 m above sea level and temperatures drop to –80°C. No supplies can be delivered during the Antarctic winter and nobody can leave the base, no matter what emergency.
The station is the closest thing on Earth to interplanetary exploration. Studying the effects of isolation there is preparing ESA for the real thing: a mission to Mars.
Concordia Research Station, which opened in 2005, is a research facility that was built 3,233 m above sea level at a location called Dome C on the Antarctic Plateau, Antarctica. It is located 1,100 km inland from the French research station at Dumont D’Urville, 1,100 kilometres inland from Australia’s Casey Station and 1,200 kilometres inland from the Italian Zucchelli Station at Terra Nova Bay. Russia’s Vostok Station is 560 kilometres away. The Geographic South Pole is 1670 kilometres away. The facility is also located within Australia’s claim on Antarctica, the Australian Antarctic Territory.