Alex writes: I coined the term ‘Planet Concordia’ to describe the extreme environment in which we live. This is the closest you can be to living on the surface of another planet. A planet with oxygen but not as much oxygen as there is at sea level on Earth.
Calling all hivernauts
Every year ESA advertises for the next Concordia research doctor. That time has come again and doctors are invited to apply – the only requirement is that you are a medical doctor and a national from a list of certain countries.
I will describe a typical day of my life here on Planet Concordia to inspire people to apply for the job. I should say, there is no such thing as a typical day here, each day can be as different as you want it to be.
A typical day
In winter I wake up at around 8am. During breakfast I read the world news. After that the first stage of research may involve exercise, computer orientated tasks or even venepuncture depending on the day.
Lunch is at 12.15 sharp after which we help to clean and wash up. I often sit and talk to fellow crew members about news and life and listen to some new music. The afternoon research session takes up the majority of the day. If I am lucky I manage to finish early and spend time in the gym or help crew members with their research such as digging holes for glaciology or searching for a new exoplanet.
We usually work Saturday mornings. On Saturday night we always find a reason to celebrate with fine dinner before watching a movie. On Sunday I spend time reading and in
the afternoon take “le gouter” (French for afternoon snack/ tea) while watching a documentary. I talk to family and friends in the evening by telephone.
We can always brave the cold and go outside to enjoy one of the clearest night skies available in the world.
I look forward to meeting my replacement and showing you the ropes. I may even leave you my golf clubs, kindly donated by Callaway.
Station life is very different between summer and winter periods. After you wave goodbye to the summer tourists there are certain realities that have to be faced and hopefully relished – this is where the adventure really begins:
- Travelling in Antarctica is one of the most incredible experiences you will have.
The Antarctic winter is the most extreme in the world, expect temperatures as low as -80 degrees Celsius.
- It is impossible to leave the base from the time the last plane leaves (February) until the next one arrives (November).
- Concordia is a French- Italian station but we speak English as a common language – English language skills are desirable.
- If you are as lucky as we are, you will have an exceptional chef during your stay who surprises you with theme nights: Pizza night, Mexican, Japanese, Indian as well as birthday dinners.
- You can use your spare time to do whatever you want – read up on polar history, learn new languages (presently I hear French, Italian, English and Russian on Planet Concordia), learn to cook, work out in the gym or observe the clearest night sky.
- This is a unique opportunity and could be described as one of the most extreme jobs in the world.
- A piece of advice – don’t forget to pack your imagination!