Since Sunday evening, 15 men and women have been living in the huge Lombrives Cave in the Pyrenees south of Toulouse for an experiment called « Deep Time », which is being led by the French-Swiss explorer Christian Clot
A picture taken on March 14, 2021 shows the entrance to the Lombrives Cave in Ussat, where a Swiss-French researcher and 14 volunteers will spend 40 days as part of a scientific experiment. AFP
Tarascon-sur-Ariège: A year after France broke new ground with its first coronavirus lockdown, a small group of volunteers has launched a more extreme prison sentence: almost six weeks underground, with no timing to see the effects of the acute isolation.
Since Sunday evening, 15 men and women have been living in the huge Lombrives Cave in the Pyrenees south of Toulouse for an experiment called « Deep Time », which is being led by the Franco-Swiss explorer Christian Clot. </ For 40 days, your home is a cave-like complex beneath the surface of the earth, with no telephones, clocks or natural light. But they have their own tents for a minimum of privacy.
« Three separate living rooms have been set up: one for sleeping, one for living and one for doing topography studies, especially for fauna and flora, » Clot told journalists a few hours before entering the cave.
The main subject of the study, however, will be the seven men and seven women aged 27 to 50, as well as Clot, who adapt to a constant temperature of 12 degrees Celsius and 95 percent humidity They have been equipped with sensors to enable monitoring by around a dozen scientists who want to learn how people react without the usual spatiotemporal frames of reference.
« This experiment is the first of its kind », said Etienne Koechlin, director of the Department of Cognitive Neuroscience at the Ecole Normale Superieur in Paris who is part of the monitoring team.
« So far, these types of Missions aim to study the body’s physiological rhythm, but never the effects of this type of temporal separation on a person’s cognitive and emotional functions, « he said.
– ‘Not easy’ –
The volunteers, who receive no compensation, come from all over France and include a jeweler, anesthetist, security guard and a steeplejack.
Four tons of provisions and other equipment have been loaded into the cave so that the group can live in complete autonomy – Water will come from a well on site and a bicycle-powered generator will provide electricity.
Most of the funding for the € 1.2 million project came from the Clot Human Adaptation Institute through a number of private and public partnerships .
Arnaud Burel, a 29-year-old biologist, said he signed up « to experience this life out of time, which is impossible on the outside with our computers and cell phones that constantly remind us of our appointments and commitments . «
» Forty days in your life, it’s just a drop in the ocean, isn’t it? » he said.
« It’s not easy to live in an enclosed space with 14 people you don’t know – communication will be key, » he predicted.
March 18, 2021 4:47:15 PM IST
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