A New Research on Human Hibernation Might be the Key to Getting Us to Mars
Over last couple of years, news related to space exploration has been dominated by possible Mars exploration as different space organizations have come up with their own plans to achieve the goal. Although landing on Mars is a distinct possibility for humans, the biggest question remains to be answered is how to keep a crew of humans alive for six months without any outside help. A new research by John Bradford and his team from SpaceWorks Enterprises has revealed that one possible way of achieving this would be placing the crew members in a “low-metabolic torpor state” for select phases during space travel.
In simple words, the practice is basically human hibernation. The idea of the new practice is derived from the current medical practice of targeted temperature management. In this method, patients are cooled at 33 degree Celsius to prevent any tissue damage due to lack of blood flow. Afterwards, sedatives are applied to induce sleep.
This procedure can be applied to the crew of a spaceflight as the members would be fed directly into their stomach using a percutaneous endoscopic gastronomy tube. This would remove the need for eating and standard digestion. Bradford’s team found out that with this procedure, human body would need over a third less food and water to sustain itself.
While at the moment the medical procedure related to the method lasts two to three days, the plan is to extend the time each person is in torpor state to around eight days. However, the research team is currently trying to find a way to get these periods up to weeks from days.
Presenting the new research in the annual Hello Tomorrow Summit in Paris, Bradford revealed that they can achieve satisfactory results by the end of next decade. If the result is satisfactory at that point, it would be one of the most exciting moment in human history as recently space agencies are currently planning on sending manned mission to Mars in next decade.