French ‘cave dwellers’ show signs of life

They cook, they cycle on an exercise bike and they play chess, can be seen for the first time in the images. Participants must also complete questionnaires every day and sleep with probes on their heads connected by wires to devices. You can also see how some people have to descend tens of meters with cables and ropes to fetch water with buckets and tons of water; something they have to do on a daily basis.

Outside the cave, scientists are keeping an eye on the team. They want to find out how people and their bodies react to an ‘extreme lockdown’.

Christian Clot explains in his audio message that it is sometimes difficult to work together. There is no sunlight in the cave and there are no bells. No one again because of what time it is. “Sometimes I wake up and others just go to sleep. So you can’t make an appointment with someone and say, ‘we’ll see each other at breakfast’.”

‘Crazy experiment’

The fifteen cave inhabitants are not experienced explorers, but ‘ordinary’ French. There are a nurse and an unemployed person. They only had a short training before leaving for the cave.

“It’s actually a crazy experiment,” psychologist Delphine Traber said at the beginning. “The participants have to take risks. They come to live in Spartan conditions. It’s extreme for the body and extreme for the mind. But it’s for a good cause, it’s for science.”

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