In the northern hemisphere it is now winter and it is common to hear complaints about the cold: of course, for some of us it may be a very cold morning of 10 ° C.
We may even be in a place where snow falls or there are freezing temperatures, but what is certain is that none of us live in the coldest place on Earth.
When we think of visiting other planets it seems to us that temperatures would be a problem: the surface of Mars it commonly has a temperature of -50 ° C.
As we are earthlings, that seems extreme to us, because our planet has a more benign climate, doesn’t it?
If we check, Earth’s average temperature is 14 ° C, but that does not show the diversity that exists between the different latitudes: for example the average temperature in Greenland is -20 ° C.
And there are very hot places: as in the death Valley in the US, which in 2020 registered a maximum temperature of 54.4 ° C.
The geographical differences of the planet have made it possible for us to have different climates in different places.
Just as there are places that are very hot, there are others that are extremely cold and we do not have to go outside the Earth to find temperatures like those of Mars: in Oymyakon, a town in Siberia, which in winter has an average temperature of -50 ° C.
What may be surprising is that in a place with such extreme climate people live.
Of course it is not cold all year in Oymyakon: in summerDuring July and August, they have temperatures of up to 34 ° C, but those warm days are very few, because winter lasts for nine months.
Although it is a town of less than a thousand inhabitants, it is interesting to see how human beings can adapt to conditions like this. Not without difficulties, of course.
Water that does freeze
It is a bit ironic that the name Oymyakon means: water that does not freeze. That’s because nearby there are hot springs that remain liquid even in winter.
But everything is very different in this Russian town: None of the houses have running water, as it would freeze and break the pipes.
That means that it is not possible to have drains and the bathrooms are actually latrines that are outside the houses. The next time you complain about getting up to the bathroom in the middle of the night, think about what it would be like if you had to leave your house for that, at -50 ° C.
Heating is a must in all homes and garages – cars must be indoors with heating or their engines won’t start.
In addition to heating, the houses also have Wi-Fi and everyone uses cell phones, but forget about checking your messages when you go out on the street: your phone can also freeze if you take it out of your pocket.
In other words, in spite of everything, life in the town could be considered « normal »: with shops, cafeterias, and a school, in which classes are only suspended if the temperature drops to -54 ° C.
So who knows: maybe the people of Oymyakon can not only teach us a few things to survive the mild winters we have in other parts of the world, but maybe they have the key for when we inhabit other planets.