Concordia calling

Jan 25, 2010
The Concordia Station is a scientific base built in Antarctica by the French Polar Institute (IPEV) and the Italian Antarctic Programme (PNRA). Credits: Y. Frenot/IPEV

( -- Altitude 3200 m, air pressure 645 hPa, minimum temperature -85°C, completely flat landscape, almost total isolation and virtually inaccessible from February to November. Welcome to the science paradise, Concordia research station on the Antarctic highland. The door is open for research groups from all over Europe.

The high and dry ice plateau around Concordia, considered to be one of the most hostile places on Earth, is a great place for scientific research. Studies in , atmospheric sciences, astronomy and astrophysics, Earth sciences, technology and human biology and medicine all benefit from the isolated and in the middle of the continent. This unique place was chosen in the 1990s as the location for a new permanent for the French Polar Institute (IPEV) and the Italian Antarctic Programme (PNRA SCrl).

Concordia is located 1100 km inland from the French coastal station Dumont d’Urville and 1200 km inland from the Italian coastal station Mario Zucchelli at Terra Nova Bay. Access to the station is limited to the short Antarctic summer because of the extreme weather conditions. Even then, reaching it is far from easy: a flight from the Italian base takes up to five hours and the drive takes about 12 days.

Manned since November 2004, Concordia is now supporting research activities throughout the year. Only about 50 people visit during the summer (from November to February) and typically 12-14 crewmembers stay over the long Antarctic winter.

Almost an outpost on another planet

A stay at Concordia has many similarities with a long-duration spaceflight and to future exploration missions, so ESA has a cooperative arrangement with IPEV and PNRA SCrl. ESA’s Directorate of uses Concordia’s special environment to prepare for future human missions to the Moon or Mars, and provides an excellent laboratory for fundamental research on many subjects.

Map of Antarctica showing Dome-C (red square) and location of Concordia Station (star). Credits: Mark Drinkwater, ESA

ESA also supports IPEV and PNRA SCrl in medical monitoring, operational validation of life-support technologies and psychological training of crews by personnel from the European Astronaut Centre.

As one of the cooperative activities, ESA coordinates regular Europe-wide announcements of opportunity for all of Concordia’s research in medicine, physiology and psychology.

Past and current investigations include adaptation and coping with stress and changes in the immune system, blood clotting and changes in the circadian rhythms of crewmembers.

Explore further: Antarctic ice shelves rapidly thinning

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User comments : 3

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1.7 / 5 (6) Jan 25, 2010
But this is only one data station, how can it be worth anything from one part of Anatarctica? I demand to see the blueprints, the original ones, not the 'adjusted' ones :) They had a chance to learn something here, in this case, they blew it..
5 / 5 (2) Jan 25, 2010
dachpyvile mauybe you should get out of the house more often, what he hell are you on about?
adjusted blueprints!
i think your climate change paranoia is escalating somewhat, if you had bothered to read the short article its talking mostly about how the station is used for space crew training, astronomy an astrophysics.
gee people, if you indeed are a real person, like you are funny
1 / 5 (2) Jan 25, 2010
Dachpyarviie, you are a troll. Your account should be deleted.

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