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NASA may get astronauts to Mars using deep sleep and intravenous drips

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posted on Oct, 6 2014 @ 04:04 PM
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NASA may be looking towards a truly science fiction style solution for keeping its astronauts healthy during long-duration spaceflights -- by putting them in stasis. They are interested enough in the possibility of this that they have commissioned a study to determine if long duration stasis is possible.


Movie makers have been sending humans into deep space for decades, and a typical way of explaining how they got there unscathed is by placing them in stasis. Event Horizon, Prometheus, and the Alien series of movies are good examples of this. Humans in capsules in a suspended biological state while they travel for months or even years. But while that may be science fiction, it could now end up turning into science fact.

NASA has backed a study by SpaceWorks Enterprises looking into the use of deep sleep in order to allow astronauts to travel long distances in space. The first of such missions is going to be sending humans to Mars, a journey that will take around 180 days using current space tech...

...If a human could be placed into a very deep sleep instead, they wouldn’t need entertainment, food and water could be strictly controlled by intravenous drips, and the energy required to keep them alive would be lowered significantly. Therefore, it’s obviously a highly desirable thing to do.

The focus of this study is on torpor: a kind of hibernation state that sees body temperature and metabolic rate decrease. Some animals already naturally go into a torpor state on a regular basis and humans can if suffering from hypothermia. But NASA wants to try and safely adapt it for humans and extend it to 180 days. If it can, it would bring us a step closer to sending a team of astronauts to Mars.


Source:
NASA may get astronauts to Mars using deep sleep and intravenous drips


More precisely, they would be putting them in a state of "therapeutic hypothermia". Hospitals have been using this forced torpor/hybernation-like state to stabilize critical care patients long enough to be able to receive treatment. The limits for this therapeutic torpor used by hospitals is currently about a week, which is far shorter than the amount of time one would expect NASA would require for long-duration flights. For example, a flight to mars may take 180 days.



A NASA-backed study explores an innovative way to dramatically cut the cost of a human expedition to Mars -- put the crew in stasis.

The deep sleep, called torpor, would reduce astronauts’ metabolic functions with existing medical procedures. Torpor also can occur naturally in cases of hypothermia.

“Therapeutic torpor has been around in theory since the 1980s and really since 2003 has been a staple for critical care trauma patients in hospitals," aerospace engineer Mark Schaffer, with SpaceWorks Enterprises in Atlanta, said at the International Astronomical Congress in Toronto this week. "Protocols exist in most major medical centers for inducing therapeutic hypothermia on patients to essentially keep them alive until they can get the kind of treatment that they need.”

Coupled with intravenous feeding, a crew could be put in hibernation for the transit time to Mars, which under the best-case scenario would take 180 days one-way.


Source:
NASA Eyes Crew Deep Sleep Option for Mars Mission


edit on 10/6/2014 by Soylent Green Is People because: (no reason given)




posted on Oct, 6 2014 @ 04:07 PM
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They're talking about putting them in a medical coma, right?

Not saying it might not work, but I just want to know if there's a difference between what they're talking and an induced coma.



posted on Oct, 6 2014 @ 04:07 PM
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It sounds awesome and I remember seeing/reading about it several times in the late 90s. It's probably an earlier concept too. The problem with NASA is they look into things, they waste money and we're still planet-locked so to speak.



posted on Oct, 6 2014 @ 04:15 PM
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a reply to: Soylent Green Is People

OH FOR GOODNESS SAKE!

Look... thats all very well if we are talking about sending people out of the damned solar system, but for a Mars mission?

They need to stop this nonsense, and get around to building ships engines with the capability to travel the distance between here and Mars in a month, instead of a significant chunk of a year. All the time being wasted with doing ANYTHING ELSE, is putting the space travel capability of our species back, and I for one am growing sick of it.

How to acheive better transit times is a question best left to theoretical physicists, but the ONLY work that needs doing going forward, is making their ideas a reality, not capitulating to the crap state of current propulsion tech by putting people in some kind of coma for the duration of the journey!



posted on Oct, 6 2014 @ 04:20 PM
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originally posted by: TheBlackTiger
They're talking about putting them in a medical coma, right?

Not saying it might not work, but I just want to know if there's a difference between what they're talking and an induced coma.


It's induced hypothermia rather than an induced coma. This treatment (used for cardiac patients, but there are doubts about the benefits) involves lowering the body's core temperature:

Treatment of Comatose Survivors of Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest with Induced Hypothermia



posted on Oct, 6 2014 @ 04:22 PM
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originally posted by: TrueBrit
a reply to: Soylent Green Is People

OH FOR GOODNESS SAKE!

Look... thats all very well if we are talking about sending people out of the damned solar system, but for a Mars mission?


"One small step", and all that.



posted on Oct, 6 2014 @ 04:24 PM
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originally posted by: TheBlackTiger
They're talking about putting them in a medical coma, right?

Not saying it might not work, but I just want to know if there's a difference between what they're talking and an induced coma.


Do you really need to be told the difference between hibernation and coma?



posted on Oct, 6 2014 @ 04:33 PM
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a reply to: Soylent Green Is People

The number of years that have passed between now and the last time we took a small step, indicates to me that the fact there has been no giant leap is a product of mismanagement of resources, both human, and financial. This must be nipped in the bud, and rebalanced. For example, there is a fellow who is trying to create space warps, in what amounts to the basement of the laboratory in which he works. He is NASAs entire bloody contribution to the idea of high speed, non-rocket related propulsion as far as I can tell.

That is utterly unacceptable. The fellow should be in control of about one hundred staff and consulting fellow physicists, and in command of about a quarter of the entire funding of the organisation for which he works. That is how you get things moved along, not by relying on what amounts to posh fireworks to get you where you need to go, and ploughing all your resources into that.

For all the MENSA level employees that NASA and JPL have, their executive officers are total and complete morons. If anything else where the case, then we would be colonising both the Moon, and Mars by now, or at least pay regular visits to both, regardless of the potential for accidentally uncovering a Michael Bay plot.



posted on Oct, 6 2014 @ 04:36 PM
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a reply to: Soylent Green Is People

Where do i sign up for this j/k , but 20 years ago i would have been on the front line for this , i can veg for months if need be without trying and survived minus -55 ok in the winters we have in Scotland some years ,

I remember saying this to a friend all those years ago , i would be up for a one way trip to Mars even if i would only live months while there i still would have gone for it



posted on Oct, 6 2014 @ 06:03 PM
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a reply to: Soylent Green Is People

Reminded me of the metabolism slowing drug's that have been used for century's by witch doctor's to create Zombie slave's.
A film called the Serpant and the Rainbow was a over the top dramatization of a book by the same name written by a pharamaceutical researcher who was sent to haiti to retrieve the secret and is freely and otherwise on the net in PDF format.
Such a Metabolic suppressor coupled with something to induce mind sleep (people under the influence of the Zombie drug are often awake and powerless even while they are being buried until the witch doctor dig's them back up), may enable a slowing of the cellular ageing process coupled with reduced oxygen and nutrient requirement's and of course this would enable long haul space flight but what of other considerations, radiation would still penetrate the vessel for instance and chromosone damage as well as possible cellular necrosis as a result of such damage is a possibillity so rather them than me.

Instead Nasa should work on perfecting and building there warp ship, at least if it work's that is and they should also look at launching stage stations that would orbit between mars and earth, these unmanned satellites could be used to resupply and refuel the ship on the trip as well as acting as communication relay's to boost the signal and allow communication on long duration mission's were mars would otherwise be occluded by the sun.

Interesting though and it is a technology we will need if we ever decide to try to reach beyond our own solar system unless of course we build generational ship's.



posted on Oct, 6 2014 @ 06:36 PM
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Von Braun outlined what was needed to do a Mars mission. You need a ferry supply system, an orbiter around Mars, and above all robust shielding for deep space radiation.

Once you get there you need a robust way to land in lower gravity and low atmosphere.

On landing the problems really begin. Red dust that makes regolith look tame, sandstorms with >300 mph winds and no easy way to resupply (unless the ferry supply system is set up).

Trying to spitball it like the Apollo missions just won't cut it.



posted on Oct, 6 2014 @ 07:46 PM
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a reply to: TheBlackTiger

A medical coma only really reduces your body's metabolism to about the same as regular sleep but it shuts down the brains higher functions, not completely but enough to allow the brain to heal in some situations without the stimulous that is made through conscious thought and activity and with lower blood pressure due to the body being essentially asleep which can aid in blood vessel repair, this is why it is used on head injury patient's and it also due to the lower blood pressure helps to reduce swelling that may in the case of brain injury's cause further damage by restricting blood vessel's to other parts of the brain.

Suspended or near suspended hybernation is a method by which like a frog or a bear in winter the body is induced (Artificially as we are not geared for it unlike the frog or the bear) to enter a lower state of systemic metabolic function (the body work's much more slowly than in sleep), this can be induced with derivatives of the blowfish venom (as used in haiti) and some application of curare is also possible but today's chemical biologists and pharmeceutical scientists have refined the benefit's.

We do not see much use of it in the hospital's despite the obvious benefit of reduced blood flow and cellular metabolysm to operations for instance but it is something that drug company's (or should be call them cartel's) have long looked into, spin off's of this research include some heart drug's used to reduce heart rate etc.

Forgive anyone if they seem a little terse as many of us forget and we tend to think others understand as we do our particular area's of knowledge but in reality this distinction between coma and hybernation would be lost on a great many people, indeed the average man or woman on the street would possible not know off the top of there head's.

edit on 6-10-2014 by LABTECH767 because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 6 2014 @ 08:07 PM
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People put into this state, something like the film 2001, would lose much or most of their muscle tone, and would come out of the stasis on Mars with much less ability to move and function than when they started. At least it seems like they would, unless that was handled somehow by machines which moved their muscles as they "slept". 180 days awake aboard a ship isn't that many, with some good books and videos, cards, a guitar, and a few Gameboys and assorted other games along for the ride. Folks up on the Space Station have done this kind of time, and have proven a Mars trip can be accomplished without the participants falling apart mentally. Stasis? We don't need no stinkin' stasis.
edit on 6-10-2014 by Aleister because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 6 2014 @ 08:37 PM
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a reply to: Soylent Green Is People

Elon Musk and SpaceX will probably get to Mars before NASA or anyone else. IMO our shadow govt has the tech to already go to Mars in less than 180 days, however the military industrial complex will not release any of this tech and might try to stop companies from obtaining it as well.



posted on Oct, 6 2014 @ 10:07 PM
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Come on people, you are not really thinking this through. Nobody is ever going to go on a Mission to Mars in our lifetime. There's only been one instance where a prospective crew has managed to live in isolation - on Earth - in a simulator for 6 months and they had problems. It's hard enough to pick a crew with redundancies in skill.

The biggest problem besides landing is the hard radiation and that has not been solved.

Suicide mission, maybe, but why?

There is literally no point to going to Mars. We ought to be building a permanent space station around the Moon and putting down colonies there. You can't do both the Moon thing -and- Mars it's too expensive.

The time to do Mars is when these problems have been solved and we have a way to terraform. Right now it would take 40,000 years to begin to terraform Mars to the point you could raise most higher plants.

FWIW.



posted on Oct, 6 2014 @ 11:05 PM
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What really makes me mad is the fact they dont mention Space Odyssey as an example.. Prometheus?!?! Anyone remember Frank Poole? a reply to: Soylent Green Is People



posted on Oct, 7 2014 @ 12:37 AM
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originally posted by: Soylent Green Is People
NASA may be looking towards a truly science fiction style solution for keeping its astronauts healthy during long-duration spaceflights -- by putting them in stasis.

Well, it will certainly less painful for them to die in their sleep when they get hit by a solar flare than if they're wide awake. Very peaceful.



posted on Oct, 7 2014 @ 03:52 AM
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brb patenting this as a weight loss solution



posted on Oct, 7 2014 @ 07:16 AM
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originally posted by: Blue Shift

originally posted by: Soylent Green Is People
NASA may be looking towards a truly science fiction style solution for keeping its astronauts healthy during long-duration spaceflights -- by putting them in stasis.

Well, it will certainly less painful for them to die in their sleep when they get hit by a solar flare than if they're wide awake. Very peaceful.

If they need less bulk in the way of food and living spaces, then that leaves more weight for shielding.

Of course, this is all still theoretical. It's only a study. It's not meant to be an all-encompassing solution to "how do we get to Mars", but simply is asking the question "is it possible to use something similar to therapeutic hypothermia for long-duration space travel".


edit on 10/7/2014 by Soylent Green Is People because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 7 2014 @ 08:06 AM
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This must be for something else not mars. Mars is excuse for funding. Vasimir engine can get us there and back in 3 months. Stop trying to build entire spacecraft on earth. Stop trying to put everything in one small space capsule on one rocket launch. Build a real one up in orbit through multiple launches. Assemble it near the space station.

Launch fuel tanks up there on separate rockets and attach them. Stop the tiny capsule crap and build a submarine size ship in orbit with everything you need. Shielding, Nuclear power plant etc...

Create the ship in modules so when your tech gets better you can just disconnect the old and replace with new. (Engines, habitat etc..0
edit on 7-10-2014 by Xeven because: (no reason given)




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