It’s freezing-cold, snows almost every day, there are very few people there… How does one apply to be sent to Antarctica, or how the cool kids call it – “White Mars”? It’s an amazing place to conduct all sorts of experiments. Take Concordia for example. It’s a research base built in 2005, that has over 50 people living there. The life is tough out here, but aside from low oxygen, sub-optimal temperatures and wacky day-night cycles, it’s not all bad, or maybe I’m wrong.
Here are 6 cool facts about living in Antarctica!
1. Is there a Wallmart around?
If you look at the map, you’d see that the closest store near Concordia would be 2500 miles away, and it takes the scientists around 10 days to get from the station to the nearest civilization. But don’t worry, they get a steady supply of meat, fish, fruits, and veggies, so they’re probably eating better than any one of you.
2. It’s like a big odorless freezer
On average temp. in Antarctica is −58°F (-50 C), with the lowest being −110°F (-79 C). What this means is that the bacteria that usually emit odor can’t survive in such harsh environment, making the air outside the base the cleanest you’ll ever sniff. Too bad that the oxygen level is very low, and just to go take a breath of fresh arctic air, you’d need to spend 30 minutes putting all the gear on.
3. All work and no play?
There are two areas on Concordia: the quiet place, where people sleep and do research; and the noisy place, where they have fun, eat, and chat. Just so you know, there are tons of cool facilities in the noisy place. There’s a gym, a cozy cinema, a basketball court, a dance hall, and probably many more we don’t know about. Aside from that, they can use Skype to get in touch with their families, answer some questions live, or even call the president of Italy on Christmas!
4. Winter is coming
Just because it’s always cold there, doesn’t mean it’s a 24/7 winter land. The seasons are brief but they do exists. Of course, most of the time it’s still winter. And during winter it’s impossible to get out of Concordia, due to severe weather conditions.
5. Are you afraid of the dark?
On Concordia, 4 months a year are polar nights, which means people there are getting no natural light. Imagine it’s 10 PM but the sun is shining as bright as ever, or vice versa – it’s 2 PM and you can’t see anything. Your circadian rhythms will get messed up! Not mine, though, I can sleep on command, basically.
6. It’s all about the research
In our age of space adventures and people begging to be the pioneers on Mars, it’s incredibly important to research how the human body will react to these harsh living conditions, comparable to what it would be like living in a “bubble” on Mars or on a space station. Everything from mood swings to depression is recorded and stored in special devices then sent to the HQ for further analysis. But the human psyche is not the only thing these people are researching. There are astronomers, meteorologists, seismologists, climatologists, physicists and other specialists working there.