Should we send humans to Mars?
The second part of Alex's views on travel to Mars:
Much like the interior of Antarctica, Mars remains inhospitable.
For humans to live on the planet for any significant period of time would require the recycling of water and air, along with other so-called "life systems".
At Concordia station in Antarctica (my current home) we use "grey water recycling" - taking the water generated from domestic activities such as laundry, bathing and dishwashing and recycling it on-site for other uses.This mirrors the system used on the International Space Station (ISS).
But there are even grander ideas that could further extend the duration of human habitation on Mars.
Read more at BBC News...
When will we send humans to Mars?
Alex wrote a two piece article for the BBC on human exploration of Mars with quotes from ESA astronaut Tim Peake and Mars-500 participant Charles Romain. Read the follow-up Saturday 22 September.
Concordia, similar to the Red Planet? Credits: A. Kumar
Just how far are we from mounting a crewed mission to the Red Planet?
It's a question I ponder as I stare into a powerful telescope and see a reddish hue in the surrounding darkness.
I have been overwintering at the French-Italian outpost of Concordia station in Antarctica, which is also used to study how humans might one day survive a trip to the Red Planet.
My eyes begin to freeze and my eyelashes become matted together with ice. I dig my hands deeper, further into my pockets seeking warmth.
Read more at BBC News...
New York Times blog: Lost in Time in the Antarctic Ice Age
Credits: A. Kumar
Alex wrote this for the New York Times:
Living in Antarctica in what I call the Worst Winter in the World can be likened to living through the ice age — surrounded by ice, in extreme temperatures, reliant on available food and warmth for survival. Living in the darkness, with various sleep difficulties, I have observed and documented changes in my own and fellow crew members’ day-night cycles over the past eight months, and I have noticed a strange change in my perception in the passing of time.
Continue reading via New York Times...
Return of the Sun
Alex sent us these photos to celebrate the return of the Sun:
'Re-entry' of the sun into the Antarctic horizon breaking the winter darkness. Credits: A. Kumar
View from our front door in the midday sunshine Credits: A. Kumar
Good day sunshine. Credits: A. Kumar
Concordia Style - 1970s flares - mechanic Bruno Limouzy shown. Credits: A. Kumar
Sunday, happy Sunday. Credits: A. Kumar
Behold the light! Credits: A. Kumar
-75C breath. Credits: A. Kumar
Sea of ice. Credits: A. Kumar
Dusk till dawn, Concordia Rooftop. Credits: A. Kumar
If you squint you can see Neil Armstrong's footprints. Credits: A. Kumar
Satellites over Concordia
Received from Alex:
Photo by Erick Bondoux and Alexander Kumar
The 'comet' that appears is actually an Iridium satellite flare, which shoots across the milky way, which is surrounded by Aurora Australis - Southern Lights. Concordia Station, Antarctica