Antarctica going in darkness for 4 months: Long night begins
During the long winter, no supplies or people can be flown in and the high altitude causes the crew to experience chronic hypobaric hypoxia or lack of oxygen in the brain.
The South Pole, Antarctica goes through a period of astronomical polar night, a period of continuous night where there is no twilight or anything. This occurs from May 11 to August 1, when the sun is between 18° and 23° 26’ below the horizon.
While an experience like this would freak the living daylights out of everyone, a 12-member team of researchers from the European Space Agency (ESA) is embarking on their mission to Concordia research station in Antarctica, to experience living and working in isolation for 6 months for Space research.
How is this experience related to space research you might ask? Well, the Italian-French outpost Concordia is located 3233 m above sea level where temperatures can drop to –80°C in the complete frozen darkness outside. The sun disappears behind the horizon for four months. No supplies or people can be flown in during the winter months, and the high altitude causes the crew to experience chronic hypobaric hypoxia or lack of oxygen in the brain.
Antarctica has six months of daylight in its summer and six months of darkness in its winter. The seasons are caused by the tilt of Earth's axis in relation to the sun. The direction of the tilt never changes. But as the Earth orbits the sun, different parts of the planet are exposed to direct sunlight.
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