NASA Looking to Use Cryosleep Technology on Mars Mission


In another instance of science-fiction becoming science-fact, NASA is currently researching how to cut costs for a manned mission to Mars by putting the crew in cryosleep.

Researchers at the NASA-funded SpaceWorks Enterprises are looking at ways to extend the amount of time a person could be placed in therapeutic torpor, which, up to this point, has only been used on critical care trauma patients in hospitals, but only for a maximum of a few days until the patient can receive the needed treatment. Therapeutic torpor reduces the body’s metabolism and body temperature, and can happen naturally in the form of hypothermia.

By applying this same principle to space travel for longer periods of time, the cosmos could finally be at our fingertips. No longer would astronauts have to be awake for voyages that could takes months, years or even decades across the far reaches of space. It would also greatly reduce the cost and required size of space-faring vehicles, as crew members would be asleep for the majority of the mission.

It’s a science-fiction staple that has been used for decades in everything from books to video games. Upcoming films like Interstellar will use the idea heavily, and it’s been seen in other hallmarks of science fiction like Alien and more recently Avatar and Prometheus. In 2001: A Space Odyssey the crew of the Discovery are all in cryosleep on their way to Jupiter, leaving regular ship functions to the artificial intelligence HAL. That turns out to be not so great of an idea when HAL learns two crew members plan to disconnect him. He takes control of the shuttle and kills the crewmen unlucky enough to still be in cryosleep by turning off their life support functions.

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SOURCE: Tech Times, GEEK
Cameron Koch

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