A few days ago, the fifteen volunteers of the Deep Time project saw the light of day after spending forty days in a cave. Scientists will be able to start studying the large amount of data collected. Return on the objectives of this experience and on the first testimonies.
On March 14, 2021, fifteen volunteers aged 27 to 50 had joined the Lombrives cave in Ussat (Ariège). Forty days later, on April 24, the team was finally able to see the light of day. Before leaving, the head of mission Christian Clot explained want to find a way to respond to the impacts caused by confinement situations. Containment such as those induced by the health crisis in connection with Covid-19 is indeed leading to loss of spatio-temporal landmarks. Our coping skills as well as our emotions could have been abused during these difficult episodes.
Christian Clot’s team stayed in the cave without a watch, phone or natural light. In addition, the conditions of this place are quite difficult with a temperature of 12 ° C and one humidity of 95%. Let us also mention the fact that the volunteers were obliged to use a pedal boat system in order to generate their own electricity and draw water from a depth of 45 m.
Everyone is well
At the time of their release, the volunteers were with sunglasses to protect themselves from the radiant sky (and therefore from the dazzling light) that awaited them. It will now be necessary to analyze the numerous data collected during the experiment. Remember that the team was equipped with sensors measuring their body temperature as well as their cortisol and melatonin levels. The volunteers also wore a electroencephalogram in order to analyze their cognitive performances and their sleep cycles, among others.
However, scientists will focus above all on one of the major issues of this experiment, namely to assess the capacity of the participants to evolve together in a new environment. The first testimonies indicate that everyone is doing well. However, the volunteers suffered a shift in their sleep cycle and not all have lived at the same pace.
In order to go further, it is possible to follow the podcast on the YouTube channel Adaptation Institute, the first episode of which is available at the end of this article. Finally, the magazine GEO will give the floor to Christian Clot during a live Instagram this Thursday, April 29 at 5 p.m.