Today, my friend and International Space University classmate Adrianos Golemis is embarking on a year-long Antarctic adventure. Braving harsh temperatures as low as -80˚C, Adrianos will reside alongside 13 others in Concordia Station, Antarctica. Established in 2005, Concordia is a remote research base located 3200m above sea-level. It shares a great deal of characteristics with a long-duration space mission, isolation and confinement to name just a few. The station is inaccessible for 9 months during the winter and due to extreme frost and icy winds, the crew are unable to venture further than 1 km around the base with precaution. Shrouded in a blanket of darkness for many months, Concordia Station is a challenging place to live for a month, let alone a year.
However, the unique conditions found in Antarctica are a valuable tool for humanity to explore the limits of the human body and mind when faced with such environmental extremes and as a result, an excellent analogue platform for research into space medicine. Analogous to human settlers onto a planet once humanity has advanced to space colonisation, Concordia Station requires total autonomy during the winter, as will a human base on another planet.
Adrianos will therefore pretty much experience a year in the life of an astronaut living on a planet other than Earth. Pretty amazing way to spend a year if you ask me. Adrianos, who originates from Greece will join the crew as the European Space Agency sponsored Medical Doctor. There, he will conduct physiological and psychological research during his time at the station and has written his first blog entry, Chronicles from Concordia on the ESA site here.
"This year the lucky one to go is me. “Lucky” might sound a bit funny to your ears if you consider that we are about to travel to the infinite white desolation that is Dome Circe. But there are great returns to be discovered in such a journey, and after giving it much thought, I yearn to go."
Good Luck Adrianos! Say hi to the penguins from me :)
Follow Adrianos on his journey at the Concordia Base Log here and on Twitter here