Flags silhouetted in a sunrise

Photo: Alexander Kumar

Here comes the sun

Tattered flags whip in the icy wind as the first sunrise to hit Antarctica in more than three months casts golden light across a vast snowy plateau surrounding the Concordia Research Station.

The image was captured on Aug. 12 by Alexander Kumar, a medical doctor and researcher stationed at Concordia, who celebrated the sunrise by listening to "Here Comes the Sun" by the Beatles. As the days go by, the station will receive a little more sunlight every day until the beginning of the austral summer, when the sun doesn't leave the sky for weeks on end.

In addition to keeping the rest of Concordia's residents healthy, Kumar also conducts research for the European Space Agency to learn how prolonged isolation affects the human body. Using the remote Concordia station as a simulation for human spaceflight, the agency hopes that Kumar's findings will help other researchers better understand how the human body would fare during an extended trip through space.

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Catie Leary ( @catieleary ) writes about science, travel, animals and the arts.

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