Following the adventures of ESA-sponsored medical doctor Floris van den Berg, taken from his personal blog:

Last plane. Credits: ESA/IPEV/PNRA-F. van den Berg

Last plane. Credits: ESA/IPEV/PNRA-F. van den Berg

“Solitude, isolation, are painful things and beyond human endurance.”
Jules Verne -The Mysterious Island (1874)

Once all the snow settled after the final takeoff of the Basler* for the season, it was time for my mind to do the same. What will life be on this mysterious island? After two and a half months with the bustle of 74 people around the summer campaign, the base feels very quiet with just the 12 person overwinter crew.

Isolation. The next plane will arrive in 9 months…

last plane

Isolation. Not that many places are truly this isolated. I’ve set foot in many ‘remote’ places, but each time there was the comforting knowledge that in a max of 4 days I could be back home. Here it is different. Here it is just us: five Italians, six French and one Dutch guy in the middle of White Mars.

“We’re gonna make it on our own, we don’t need anyone”
Transplants – D.J. D.J. (2002)

It is a weird feeling, although I never planned to leave Concordia during the summer months, it was at least possible. That option is now gone, it flew away with the last plane out. So now the isolation, as well as most of my experiments, truly begin. The wall beacons for the Neurocog study are all installed, the Actiwatches are charged, and all is set for the experiments. Tonight we expect the first sunset. Let winter begin! This will be interesting…

Stats: Temperature –43,2°C. Windchill –57,9°C. 24 hours of daylight.

* The Basler BT-67 is a pretty badass airplane. Even past the normal retirement age (this one was first registered in 1942), it’s still fully functioning and one of the WWII for transporting allied forces.

Credits: ESA/IPEV/PNRA-B. Healey

Credits: ESA/IPEV/PNRA-B. Healey