Concordia is a joint French-Italian inland Antarctic research station run by the French Polar Institute and Italian Antarctic Programme. Every year it hosts a human research protocol coordinated by ESA and Concordia partners, supplied by universities and research institutions from across Europe.
As well as offering around 9 months of complete isolation, Concordia is located at around 3200 metres altitude, so the crew has to adapt to chronic hypobaric hypoxia – they live with a third less oxygen than is available at sea level.
During the Antarctic winter, the crew endures 4 months of complete darkness: the sun disappears from the beginning of May, and is not seen again until late August.
Living in isolation with a European crew of 13 and in the world's most extreme environment creates an ideal opportunity to conduct research into the adaptation of human psychology and physiology.
Space research has been conducted in the polar regions for many years – offering conditions on Earth similar to long-term space travel.