[ExI] Hibernation for travel to Mars

Dan TheBookMan danust2012 at gmail.com
Tue Feb 1 01:49:01 UTC 2022

On Jan 31, 2022, at 1:28 PM, BillK via extropy-chat <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
> Hibernate for a trip to Mars, the bear way
> 31/01/2022    ESA / Science & Exploration / Human and Robotic Exploration
> Hibernating astronauts could be the best way to save mission costs,
> reduce the size of spacecraft by a third and keep crew healthy on
> their way to Mars. An ESA-led investigation suggests that human
> hibernation goes beyond the realm of science-fiction and may become a
> game-changing technique for space travel.
> <https://www.esa.int/Science_Exploration/Human_and_Robotic_Exploration/Hibernate_for_a_trip_to_Mars_the_bear_way>
> Quote:
> Bears seem to be the best role model for human hibernation in space.
> They have similar body mass to us and reduce their body temperature
> only by a few degrees – a limit considered safe for humans. Like
> bears, astronauts should acquire extra body fat before falling into a
> slumber.
> During hibernation, brown and black bears retreat into their dens and
> experience six months of fasting and immobilisation. If a person
> spends six months in bed, there is a major loss of muscle, bone
> strength and more risk of heart failure.
> “However, research shows that bears exit their den healthily in spring
> with only marginal loss of muscle mass. It only takes them about 20
> days to be back to normal. This teaches us that hibernation prevents
> disuse atrophy of muscle and bone, and protects against tissue
> damage,” explains Alexander Choukér, professor of Medicine at the
> Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich, Germany.
> ----------------
> I don't think I'd let the whole crew sleep through the journey and
> trust the computer to wake them up.
> It could be a literal 'Blue screen of death' if an unexpected error
> occurred. The ship would need to have an emergency wakeup system
> for problems or computer failure.  Or maybe have a rota for sleepy-time.
> Back on Earth, hibernation could also be a method of time-travel into
> the future.

I’d definitely want rotating crew watches over emergency wake-up. Also, have the usual redundancies and independent systems stuff.

Some of this might be moot by the time crewed interplanetary missions happen because of lowering launch costs and potential to build stuff in space. If the resources are there and the costs are much lower, no reason to hibernate for the short trip to Mars. I’d still keep doing the R&D for it. 



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