Adrianos Golemis, ISU alumnus will be conducting medical science at the Antarctic space analog station of Concordia during the upcoming 9 months. He shares the following with the ISU community:
“Concordia Station is a European research base at the heart of the Antarctic continent, operated by the French and Italian polar institutes (IPEV and PNRA). The unique conditions that govern Dome Circe, where the station’s location is, render it one of the most accurate space mission analogs on the Earth.
That is why the European Space Agency (ESA) supports one Medical Doctor (MD) every year to conduct medical research on the site. This year, 10 experiments will be carried out, proposed by acclaimed researchers of many European (and other) universities.
The overwintering crew of 13 people (6 Italian, 6 French and 1 Greek) will have to battle temperatures as low as -80˚C, hypoxia (the station is situated at an altitude of 3200m), the monotony of the scenery and limited external stimuli, not to mention the extreme isolation and confinement conditions, as Concordia is completely cut off for 9 consecutive months. The continuous night in the winter and never-setting sun in the summer contribute more to this alien environment.
Credit: European Space Agency
All of these are not that far from simulating a human mission to Mars. As I was fortunate enough to be selected for the ESA research MD post at Concordia, I will be in charge of this research that will bring us closer to reaching new worlds one day, while creating tangible benefits for the society in the present. The current goal is to better understand sleep patterns, nutrition, psychology, Vitamin D levels, body posture, team performance, communication patterns, vascular adaptation in these extreme conditions, while testing anti-bacterial methods for spacecraft too.
Admittedly, ISU was the perfect preparation for an overwintering at Concordia: My Individual Project was actually research on space physiology, similar to what I will be doing in Antarctica, while ISU’s international and intercultural environment has taught me a lot on how to cooperate with people from different cultures and professionals backgrounds.
I hope this is the start of a bridge between our University and Concordia!”