Deep Time: 15 People Emerge from Cave after 40 Days in Isolation

Deep Time: 15 People Emerge from Cave after 40 Days in Isolation
Apr 27, 2021
11:15 am

Ever dreamed of running away from reality and living some place where no one can reach you? Do you ever wonder how it would feel to be completely isolated from the busy world? Well, these people have participated in an experiment to do exactly that – to test their limits in isolation.

The experiment, which was called “Deep Time”, was led by the Human Adaptation Institute and cost US$1.4 million. It involved 15 participants (8 men and 7 women), aged 27 to 50 to test their limits of how much they can adapt to isolation, and ended on April 26.

Image via Twitter


The group of ‘cavemen’ lived in Lombrives cave in Ariege, southwest France for 40 days without any exposure to time and sunlight. They have no way of contacting the outside world as they have to enter the cave without their mobile phones, nor their clocks and watches, as a way to ensure that they completely lost their track of time during the duration of the experiment.

In the cave, the group had to adapt to sleeping in tents, and drawing water from a well 45m below the earth's surface, as well as generating their own electricity using a pedal bike attached to a generator. They also have to acclimatize to an average temperature of 10 degrees Celsius and a humidity level of 100 percent.

Image via Twitter


With such conditions, the group had to rely entirely on their biological clocks to know when to perform their daily bodily functions, such as eating, sleeping, exercising, and doing tasks. 

Their sleep and behaviour patterns were monitored by scientists from France and Switzerland using sensors throughout the 40 days of experiment.

On the last day of the experiment, the group of volunteers emerged from the cave, receiving a round of applause from the people waiting for them. They were made to wear sunglasses to give their eyes time to adjust to the sunlight. 

Image via Mashable

One participant, John Francois mentioned that he rather enjoyed the experience as there were no obligations for them other than to live and enjoy the present without worrying about the future. 

Another participant, Marina Lançon said that living in the cave was like “pressing pause” on life.

The project director, Christian Clot, who also went into the cave as part of the group, stated that it was interesting to observe a group of humans navigating life without a sense of time to help them. He also mentioned how time seemed to pass more slowly in the cave.

"Our future as humans on this planet will evolve," he said after completing the 40-day challenge. "We must learn to better understand how our brains are capable of finding new solutions, whatever the situation?"

Interestingly enough, most of the participants admitted that they had a great time in the cave, and a majority of them said they would like to stay longer to finish the projects they started while being isolated.

Girl What GIF by MOODMAN


And if you think that’s crazy, wait until you hear about NASA paying people US$19,000 to stay in bed for 2 months. 


Credits to Mashable for the initial coverage.

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