The sun is already shining over the icy continent of Antarctica after four months of darkness. As the 12-member crew of the Concordia research station awoke to a sunny morning near the southernmost point of the globe, the European Space Agency (ESA) proclaimed the Sun’s arrival.
The four-month Antarctic long night started in May of this year, which is typically regarded as a goldmine for space research while on Earth. A fresh influx of researchers will arrive at the station, which has been operating throughout the winter, now that the Sun is out.
Hannes Hagson, a doctor, took a photo of the sun rising above the horizon on August 5 and captioned it, ‘Time here has the curious property of both passing incredibly swiftly and very slowly at the same time. And in just two days we expect the return of the sun to grace us here at 75 degrees south! We are all feeling happier now that daylight is returning and we can see the end of this experience is near.’
The crew prepared for harsh temperatures that dropped to 80 degrees Celsius beneath a pitch-black sky. They were accustomed to living in a chilly atmosphere. The crew has been occupied conducting biomedical research, collecting information from samples of crew blood, urine, and stools as well as cognitive tests to study the effects of isolated, confined, and extreme environments on the human body.