The bear’s hibernation, a model for astronauts to Mars

Science fiction movies popularized the idea of ​​cryonics for endless space travel between two planets. The European Space Agency imagined a less abrupt system for the body by observing the hibernation of bears.

After Venus, Mars is the second closest planet to Earth, about 70 million kilometers away (there are variations depending on the position of the sun). In the best case, a trip between Earth and Mars would require 260 days, to be multiplied by two (you have to come back!), not to mention the months or even years spent there.

Reduce body metabolism

The European Space Agency (ESA) has been interested in possible strategies to avoid the risks inherent in long journeys and space exploration. Bear hibernation could be the solution to feelings of loneliness, boredom and aggression that can occur in the confined spaces of spaceships, researchers say. In the future, astronauts will spend years in spacecraft.

When it enters a state of hibernation, the bear reduces its body temperature by a few degrees, its heart rate, its breathing. This allows it to limit its energy consumption. Coupled with weight gain before hibernation, the animal is able to contain its food and water needs as much as possible. Not to mention the space saving: when we hibernate, we do not move!

This is why the ESA has imagined flexible capsules in which the astronauts could take place. To adjust the body’s metabolism, a special cocktail of drugs will have to be injected into them, and they will be rocked during hibernation by dim lights as well as a low temperature to lower that of the body (but not too much!). The pods will be shielded from radiation by water bubbles.

Finally, artificial intelligence will be used to control the ship during the trip to Mars, as well as its inhabitants plunged into hibernation.

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