False Hope in the First Dawn

From The New York Times:

SunAlexander Kumar, a physician and researcher at Concordia Station, writes from Antarctica, where he conducts scientific experiments for the European Space Agency’s human spaceflight program.

Wednesday, Aug. 15

After three months of dreaming about the sun, I awoke early Sunday morning with a glow outside my window. I clambered out onto the roof and closed the hatch below me. The horizon beamed with light — the sun was bursting and breaking from the constraints of the long, dark, cold and lonely Antarctic winter. Change was afoot. I had programmed my iPod to play “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles. Disappointingly, in minus 100 degrees Fahrenheit, its batteries died from the cold before the end of the song — another consideration for future Mars missions, should they wish to listen to David Bowie’s “Life on Mars” as they build red sand castles, live and survive on the Red Planet. The most magnificent sunrise unfolded before me over the ice. It felt as if we had been frozen into the sea ice, the 360-degree panorama revealing what appeared to be a flat, frozen ocean in all directions.

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