Human hibernation could enable long-term space travel


It has been the fantasy of science-fiction writers for decades.

Now researchers claim they are close to the breakthrough that will enable them to put astronauts into a state of suspended animation to make deep space voyages to faraway planets.

Human trials are planned this year to chill volunteers so they go into ‘induced hibernation’ and sleep safely, possibly for months.

Research teams in Boston, Los Angeles and Pittsburgh are racing to be first to successfully carry out the procedure. The American teams developed an injectable mix of salt and ice to cool the blood quickly. The plasma rapidly sends body temperature from 98.6f (37c) down to 50f (10c).

The mixture puts the human body into hibernation by slowing the metabolism, delaying the onset of shock and limiting wound damage, said researcher Hasan Alam, a surgeon at Massachusetts general hospital and a consultant to the U.S. army.

So far it has worked on pigs, sending them into a state of suspended animation for several hours.

Source:  Daily Mail


One Response to “Human hibernation could enable long-term space travel”

  1. Matt Metcalf Says:

    I remember reading somewhere (though I don’t remember where) that hibernation is not practical for extremely long periods of time due to random corruption of genetic code due to gamma rays, cosmic rays, etc. By the time you wake up, your DNA has taken enough damage that you don’t have very long to live.

    I’m not sure if that’s true, or what the threshold would be (10 years? 100? 10,000?), but it’s worth looking into.

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