Deep Sleep could be option for Mars mission crew and makes reaching the red planet easier and cheaper.
Images © SpaceWorks Enterprises
Scientists claims by putting astronauts into a ‘coma,’ a type of ‘hibernation,’ could make mission to the Red planet more feasible.
The study was backed by NASA, but the agency has not yet decided if the method will be used on the future manned missions to Mars.
Aerospace engineer Mark Schaffer, with SpaceWorks Enterprises in Atlanta, said at the International Astronomical Congress in Toronto this week:
“Rather than being stuck in a can for 180 days, you go to sleep, you wake up and you’re there.”
The deep sleep can be achieved by lowering their body temperature through their nose. The crew would receive some electrical impulses to key muscle groups to prevent muscular atrophy.
“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. 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.
We haven’t had the need to keep someone in (therapeutic torpor) for longer than seven days. For human Mars missions, we need to push that to 90 days, 180 days. Those are the types of mission flight times we’re talking about.
We have not seen any show-stoppers on the medical side or on the engineering side.”
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