Antarctica – winter is over | Polarjournal
After four months of darkness, the sun announces itself days before the first rise with spectacular colors on the horizon. (Photo: Hannes Hagson)

The 12-member crew of the French-Italian research station Concordia woke up in early August to a most welcome sight: sunrise after four months of Antarctic darkness. The return of the sun is an important milestone for the isolated and restricted crew. They are now three-quarters of the way through their stay in Antarctica and will soon be preparing to welcome the summer influx of researchers to the base.

Station physician Hannes Hagson, sent along by ESA, took this picture from the front door of the research station in the early morning of August 5, 2022. (Photo: Hannes Hagson)

“Time here has the strange property of passing very quickly and very slowly at the same time,” he shared, “and in just two days we expect the sun to bring us back here at 75 degrees south! The returning daylight has certainly cheered us all up and is beginning to feel the beginning of the final part of this adventure.”

The winter months in Antarctica are harsh, with temperatures below -80 ° C under a pitch black sky.

To combat the winter blues, the crew is busy, celebrating the middle of winter and the halfway point of their Antarctic sojourn in June with their own traditions. In addition, the ‘Concordians’ will participate in the Antarctic Winter Games in July. Stations with a winter team in Antarctica participate in a series of physical challenges and friendly competitions.

The Concordia research station in Antarctica is located on a plateau 3200 m above sea level. A place of extremes, temperatures can drop to -80 °C in winter. The average annual temperature is -50 °C. No animals can survive in this region. The closest people are stationed about 600 km away at the Russian Vostok base. (Foto: ESA)

Mid-August brings not only sunlight, but also production work for the ‘Antarctic Film Festival’, with each base submitting an original piece.

Of course, it’s not all fun and games. Hannes has been involved with biomedical research as he continues to collect data from urine, stool, and blood samples from the crew, as well as cognitive and psychological measurements through questionnaires to study the effects of isolated, confined, and extreme environments on the human body.

In October, the crew will begin preparing the base for the summer campaign. Rooms and tents have to be prepared for the 40 or so researchers arriving.

Join Hannes on this adventure at Concordia. Blog

Source: ESA / Hannes Hagson

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