Here's Why Hibernation in Space Might Not Be Possible for Humans After All

Here’s Why Hibernation in Space Might Not Be Possible for Humans After All

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Scientists from the European Space Agency are working on a script worthy of a science fiction movie. They plan to hibernate an entire crew of astronauts from Earth to Mars. Apparently, this technology could be an advantage for long-range space missions as it will make travel safer. It will also make it possible to achieve significant savings in terms of mass.

Astronauts face major logistical problems

During space travel, astronauts face a major logistical problem due to food space and equipment in the shuttles. Much of the mass is devoted to basic living needs such as water, air, food and waste disposal. So, to solve this problem, scientists think Putting human corpses into hibernation during travel that can last for decades. They will only wake up when they reach their destination.

This way, the astronauts won’t need to drink or eat. The only resource they will consume will be oxygen and the only waste they will produce will be carbon dioxide. As with animals in hibernation, all the energy needed for the body to function will be extracted from fat.

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This solution still belongs to the realm of science fiction

Three Chilean researchers investigated the relationship between body mass and energy expenditure in hibernating animals. The results of their research published in Proceedings of the Royal Society, does not look favorable to humans. Indeed, in these animals, the body temperature drops significantly, the heart rate and breathing slow down, and the metabolism decreases. Reducing the body’s energy expenditure by up to 98% in some cases, reports Science alert.

To survive, the animal burns its accumulated fat reserves and loses more than a quarter of its total weight during hibernation. However, for humans, hibernation means consuming at least 12,000 kilojoules per day. So he will lose about 2 kg per year during the flight.

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This fat loss will only be suitable for relatively short trips. Or one would have to accumulate several hundred kilograms of body fat before departing on longer trips.

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