Whats it like cooking in Antarctica – the coldest area on earth?
As part of his job, astrobiologist Cyprien Verseux has been living in Antarctica – the coldest area on earth which makes it the most isolated and inhabitable continent.
Even the International Space Station, 400km above the earth, is more hospitable than the freezing temperatures of Antarctica.
But Cyprien and his team still need to find a way to get by and eat every day. So whats it like to eat in such conditions?
Cooking is certainly no easy feat as most things end up freezing.
Cyprien shared images of what happens when you attempt to make a meal in the cold.
The French scientist has been blogging about his time in at the Concordia Research Station.
There is almost no living being apart from the few humans and microbes that accompany them everywhere, he wrote.
The cold is too intense, can pass -80 °C during the winter. Contrary to my usual practice, I will not study any form of life: I am a glaciologist and work on different research projects that will help, for example, to better understand the climate in the past and better assess its likely future.
The environment is hostile and our survival depends on technology.
To show just how hostile the conditions are, Cyprien went outside for a cooking session.
Just for fun, he showed the results which almost look like artwork; a broken egg hangs in the air as the whites and yolk freeze, an omelette freezes midway through being poured from pan to plate, and a fork balances off rock hard spaghetti.
We run out of fresh food early in the winter (as we have no resupply from early February to early November), so we eat mostly frozen food: given that the temperatures never are in the positive, we just store it in containers outside, he added.
But despite it all, the researchers still enjoy living there.
In spite of being in an inhospitable desert, Concordia is highly attractive to researchers from different fields such as astronomy and human physiology.