[ExI] Hibernation for travel to Mars

BillK pharos at gmail.com
Mon Jan 31 21:24:53 UTC 2022

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.


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

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.


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