Hibernation the Ultimate solution for Manned Spaceflight

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DarkenedOne

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We have all seen in science fiction, most recently in the Halo series. It is a popular idea because it many of the basic problems concerning human spaceflight.

With long distance journeys keeping humans alive and in good physical and mental health is a challenge. The most obvious of these challenges is having enough food, water, energy, and air to survive for long periods of time. The less obvious problems include muscle and bone degeneration as well as psychological effects of being in a relatively small confined space for so long.

Human hibernation of course would eliminate all these problems. If humans were able to hibernate it would mean that their metablism would slow way down. Thus their need for the basic necessities would also go way down. In addition to that the negative effects of muscle and bone degeneration would disappear.

It is a pretty amazing ability that several accidental have indicated is possible in humans. There are also a number of experiments involving animals where artificial hibernation was induced.

This technology is being developed largely for its medical applications. Similar techniques are already used in surgery on isolated parts of the body in order to give the surgeons more time to operate.
 
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JeffreyNYA

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I think it may be pretty easy to keep the body at a state of hibernation without long lasting negitive effects. I think the problem comes to doing this to the brain. Just a guess though.
 
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docm

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The appears to be what one would normally think of as a toxic gas: hydrogen sulfide. Used in small quantities along with cooling it drastically lowers metabolism. Much work has been done on this the last few years, and it's bearing fruit.
 
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Valcan

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docm":19t3toce said:
The appears to be what one would normally think of as a toxic gas: hydrogen sulfide. Used in small quantities along with cooling it drastically lowers metabolism. Much work has been done on this the last few years, and it's bearing fruit.
Yes but this only works for a very short while. The idea is to be able to slow the body down to where they can have more time to get the patient to surgery while in a war zone.

Yes keeping the brain alive is pretty much the problem.

The human brain makes the space (SPEHESS!) shuttle look like a toy car in its complexity.
 
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rcsplinters

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Not sure I'd call it the "ultimate solution". Let's assume that it might somehow be possible to place a human into hibernation and put some scale to this. First, there are only two viable destinations within the reach of our technology where hybernation might help. Mars and the moon. However, in the worst case that's only months away from a travel time perspective. No point in putting someone into hibernation for such a short flight. The rest of the solar system is pretty much devoid of spots where science might benefit from a human presence.

Anything further away is a LOT further away. We don't have the technology to prove that any given distant destination would be worthwhile to visit. The only way hibernation might be helpful is to preserve the human body in a viable and recoverable state for 1000's of years. But the trip makes no sense at all unless you know factually that there is someplace to actually visit.

In light of these sorts of considerations, I think hibernation would be much more important here on earth as a medical procedure than with any application in space. Until we start talking about speeds growing very near the theoretical limits, we aren't going anywhere over a few months flight time as there is simply no where else for humans to go.

On a side note, if we ever do attain speeds near the speed of light (which I consider totally outside our current engineering capability as a species), its the folks on earth that will need to hibernate. From their perspective on the ship, the voyage won't take so long. From our perspective their progress will be measured in years and possibly generations.

So what is the big problem if not hibernation? In my opinion, lack of gravity and its affect on physiology and radiation. We need an ultimate solution for those issues which would yield to our engineering capability.
 
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DarkenedOne

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rcsplinters":1wddy1es said:
Not sure I'd call it the "ultimate solution". Let's assume that it might somehow be possible to place a human into hibernation and put some scale to this. First, there are only two viable destinations within the reach of our technology where hybernation might help. Mars and the moon. However, in the worst case that's only months away from a travel time perspective. No point in putting someone into hibernation for such a short flight. The rest of the solar system is pretty much devoid of spots where science might benefit from a human presence.

Anything further away is a LOT further away. We don't have the technology to prove that any given distant destination would be worthwhile to visit. The only way hibernation might be helpful is to preserve the human body in a viable and recoverable state for 1000's of years. But the trip makes no sense at all unless you know factually that there is someplace to actually visit.

In light of these sorts of considerations, I think hibernation would be much more important here on earth as a medical procedure than with any application in space. Until we start talking about speeds growing very near the theoretical limits, we aren't going anywhere over a few months flight time as there is simply no where else for humans to go.

On a side note, if we ever do attain speeds near the speed of light (which I consider totally outside our current engineering capability as a species), its the folks on earth that will need to hibernate. From their perspective on the ship, the voyage won't take so long. From our perspective their progress will be measured in years and possibly generations.

So what is the big problem if not hibernation? In my opinion, lack of gravity and its affect on physiology and radiation. We need an ultimate solution for those issues which would yield to our engineering capability.
First of all why do you confine the possibilities to the Moon and Mars. There are many objects of significant size in our solar system. Beyond that there are other solar systems. With hibernation humans could actually survive a journey even if it takes hundreds of years.

Second of all even for trips to closer objects like Mars it would still be worth it. Not only would crew members consume no expendable resources, but they would also not have to worry about muscle and bone degeneration. It also eliminates the psychological effects of being in a relatively small confined space for long periods of time.
 
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