Volunteers experience 40 days of isolation in a cave

Could you survive without your smartphone or the Internet? How about living in a cave with no mod cons for 40 days? Fifteen people did just that. They took part in a project called Deep Time to see how they coped with being totally disconnected from the modern world. In a $1.9-million project, scientists examined how people adapted to drastic changes in living conditions. They put the 15 volunteers in a cave with no sunlight for nearly six weeks. They had no contact with the outside world. They had to rely on their body clock to know when to wake up, go to sleep and eat.

Most of the volunteers enjoyed the experience of total isolation. They expressed a desire to stay underground longer to finish projects they had started. Deep Time's director said the experience would, "test humans' ability to adapt to the loss of their frame of reference for time and space". He said: "Our future as humans on this planet will evolve. We must learn to better understand how our brains are capable of finding new solutions, whatever the situation." The participants lost their sense of time. One team member estimated his time underground to be 23 days.