Deep Time Research Project: 40 Days of Darkness

Absolute darkness, without contact with the outside world. For example, a group of 15 volunteers on the “Deep Time” research project spent the past 40 days and night in a cave in the French Pyrenees. The project aims to provide insights into the functioning of the human internal clock and help a better understanding of resilience under extreme conditions. In any case, the conditions were harsh: in addition to the lack of light and insulation, there were continuous temperatures of only 10 ° C and 100% humidity.

Although people were not allowed to communicate with the outside world, they were under constant observation: sleep rhythm, social interaction within the team, and changes in behavior were all conducted by the researchers. France And the Switzerland It is constantly monitored using sensors. On Friday they made their first contact in weeks with the undercover group and told them they would come to pick them up soon.

The fifteen participants, who emerged from Lombraves Cave on Saturday with pale faces and dark sunglasses, agreed that time would simply have passed more slowly without cell phones, watches and daylight. “It was like hitting the pause button,” said Marina Lancon, one of the volunteers. There was simply no pressure to do anything. 40 days under Land So, if that wasn’t enough for her – she would have liked to have spent more time there, even if the wind was in her face and the chirping of birds was very pleasant.

Due to the lack of hours, the participants no longer measured their time in hours, but in sleep cycles. So project manager Christian Klot was surprised that the time in the cave was already over: “We thought it was only 30 days”. One team member’s estimate was only 23 days. Working together on projects in the cave was especially difficult under the circumstances, according to Clute’s report – because there was no time to commit to the meetings.

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