Antarctica as a test bed for astronaut long duration spaceflight

©ESA

Antarctica as a test bed for astronaut long duration spaceflight.

ESA has teamed up with the British Antarctic Survey to study how humans survive conditions resembling a long duration spaceflight or staying on the Moon or Mars. Fortunately, there is somewhere on Earth where people are as isolated as astronauts - Antarctica.

During Antarctica's long winter, people on the Concordia research station feel as if they are on another planet. There are sub-zero temperatures, it is difficult to breathe inland as the air is so thin, and some parts of the continent are cut off for months on end, leaving people isolated with no way home.

In this film ESA medical doctor, Beth Healey (who spent a year on the continent) uses a video diary format to describe what it was like to overwinter on the Concordia station. The psychological and physiological challenges are similar to those experienced by astronauts on the International Space Station and will help assess how people will perform on future missions to the Moon, Mars or beyond.

Our future in space begins on Earth. Further details can be found here.

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