Expedition Science / العلوم الاستكشافية

Team members of the Euro-Arabian North Pole expedition will be taking part in two scientific studies during their ski to the top of the world. Both studies will contribute towards research aiming to make human spaceflight and interstellar exploration possible in the future. One looks at the impact of extreme environments on the body, while the other looks at the consequences on the human mind.

سيتم أعضاء الفريق من حملة القطب الشمالي الأوروبية العربي يشارك في اثنين من الدراسات العلمية أثناء التزلج على الجزء العلوي من العالم. وستساهم كل من الدراسات نحو البحث تهدف إلى جعل رحلات الفضاء البشرية والتنقيب بين النجوم محتمل في المستقبل. ما نظرنا إلى تأثير البيئات القاسية على الجسم، في حين يبدو أن البعض في العواقب على العقل البشري.


Eat - Sleep - Ski

In collaboration with the Department of Ecology, Physiology and Ethology, Institut Pluridisciplinaire Hubert Curien, National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), Universite de Strasbourg, France.

Study title: Physiological adaptations in women during a North Pole Exploration.

Abstract: The earth`s polar regions offer a unique set of challenges and hazards including extreme temperatures, blizzards, difficult terrain due to the ice always on the move, as well as long daylight. Due to the geography and remoteness of the Arctic, deep access is restricted to walking or cross-country skiing. These modes of locomotion impose very high energy expenditure, which coupled with these extreme conditions can challenge health. The extent to which this extreme environment will impact the human body is however poorly known.  While few men have been studied during Arctic explorations, no data exist in women.

The objective of this research project is to take advantage of a unique expedition planned in spring 2018. An international team of 11 female explorers will ski the last degree to the North Pole. By using state-of-the-art methods and top-notch equipment, our specific aims are to determine the impact of polar conditions on energy needs, biological rhythms and physiological stress.

An all-female scientific team who has extensive research experience and expertise in human metabolism, field work in Polar Regions and who is passionate about outdoor adventures will conduct this study.

This project represents an exceptional opportunity to better understand the physiological flexibility of our organism when facing extreme environmental conditions. It will further help planning future exploratory missions to extreme environments, such as Polar Regions or space.

Our specific aims are to determine the impact of polar conditions on:

(i) the energy needs assessed by measuring free-living total energy expenditure, metabolic rates and body composition,

(ii) the biological rhythms by following the pattern of physical activity, sleep and body temperature,

(iii) the physiological stress response as measured by levels of cortisol in saliva.

Principle Investigator: Audrey Bergouignan is a human physiologist specialized in the study of metabolism and its regulation by environmental factors. She is a researcher at the Department of Ecology, Physiology and Ethology (DEPE-IPHC, Strasbourg, France), that is world-renowned for its research on the capability of animals to adapt to environmental changes. She is leading the team Physiological Adaptations to Gravity & Health that aims to understand the physiological adaptations to gravity-dependent activities and their applications to human health. In this context, she studies the biological adaptations to space environment, and is currently assessing the energy needs of astronauts while in the International Space Station. For about 10 years, her team has played a key role in the management of human space flights and space conquest.

She has 12 years of experience in this field, has published 5 book chapters and 24 peer-reviewed articles. She has been invited to present her findings at numerous international conferences, and serves as an expert in Nutrition and Metabolism for the European Space Agency. audrey.bergouignan@iphc.cnrs.fr


extreme psychology

In collaboration with the University of Northampton:

Study title: Examining psychological dynamics during a North Pole expedition

What is the purpose of the study?  The study aims to understand the psychological responses, developments and potential challenges individuals experience as a result of undertaking expeditions in extreme environments. The focus of the study will be on the psychological effects of the expedition including how it has impacted upon the perspective of team members as well as different thoughts, feelings and behaviours. The results of the study will contribute to a greater understanding of how engaging in challenging expeditions impacts upon those taking part and the psychological responses experienced on completion of the journey

What does the study involve?  Members of the expedition team will be asked to complete 3 multi-section questionnaires as well as a daily diary. The questions will focus on descriptive information about the expedition, personal factors, experiences of the situation and different psychological processes related to how each member of the team thinks, feels and behaves. 

What will happen to the results of the study?  It is expected that the results will be published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.  Findings from the study may also be published in magazine articles targeted at a more general population.

Who has reviewed the study?  The study has been reviewed and approved by the University of Northampton Research Ethics Committee. The Principal Investigator is Dr Nathan Smith, Lecturer in Sport Psychology.                                                  Nathan.smith@northampton.ac.uk