[ExI] Hibernation for human space travel not possible

BillK pharos at gmail.com
Sat Apr 30 12:04:12 UTC 2022

A new hibernation study is bad news for future space travelers
Hibernating animals could help us understand how long astronauts could
last in space.
Tara Yarlagadda   4.28.2022


What’s new — In the new study, scientists reached two surprising
conclusions about how hibernating animals save energy.

First: Smaller hibernating mammals tend to save, on average, far more
energy compared to larger animals. For example, the tiny, 45-gram
marsupial known as monito del monte — which could fit in the palm of
your hand — saves 76 percent of its energy during hibernation compared
to its usual active state.

On the other hand, a 400-pound grizzly bear actually has negative
energy savings of 124 percent. In other words: Most larger bears are
not saving energy during hibernation, but losing it.

This brings us back to long-term space travel and its limitations. As
the study implies, artificially-induced hibernation in humans, such as
in the hypothetical astronaut scenario, probably doesn’t save more
energy versus regular sleep.

“Humans are simply too large, so the benefits of hibernation are
little — as in bears — if we think just on energy savings,” Nespolo

So humans might as well stay awake during long space trips. But they
will have to find some method of avoiding years of boredom during
longer journeys. With the radiation problem and no-gravity fitness
problem as well, it really does look as though better AI-controlled
robots are going to have to do the exploration for humans.


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