A journey to Mars is being discussed everywhere. Private and public organizations seriously intend to conquer the Red planet. Elon Musk has unveiled his plans for a new rocket that will allow SpaceX the first to reach Mars and NASA is preparing a new Rover in the mission, Mars 2020. But space flight involving human subjects is a many times more serious problem than just sending robots, and conducting experiments beyond Earth. It is necessary not only to build a suitable rocket, calculate journey in microgravity and to remotely perform a perfect landing on Mars, will also have to do everything possible to have a crew of people were left without any outside help.
Questions also remain about how to gather enough food and water to support the crew and the rocket were not too severe, but it was a free place to live. What if someone will be fatally bad or develop claustrophobia? In six months anything can happen, and not only in space and on Earth.
John Bradford works at SpaceWorks Enterprises in Atlanta.
Using a grant of $ 500,000 received from NASA, the team of Bradford working on an adaptation of a promising medical procedure that could solve many of the space-related limitations. Hello Tomorrow at the annual Summit in Paris Bradford shared the concept of his team’s dive crew in the so-called “state of low metabolism.” In other words, we are talking about the dive crew in hibernation.
The idea is based on the existing medical practice of therapeutic hypothermia, or directional temperature control. It is used in case of cardiac arrest, and neonatal encephalopathy. The patient is cooled to 33 degrees Celsius within 48 hours to prevent tissue damage from lack of blood flow. Then injected the sedative drugs that cause sleep. Former racer “Formula-1” Michael Schumacher was shipped in that condition after a skiing accident in 2013.
Adapting this procedure for space flight, the crew will feed and water directly into the stomach using endoscopic gastronomy tube. This eliminates the need for food and standard food digestion. Also will use electrical stimulation of the whole body to avoid muscle atrophy.
The team of Bradford found that in that state of sleep the body requires one-third less food and water to self-maintenance, which significantly reduces the weight of the payload for the Mars missions.
A large part of the concept is devoted to the rotation of sleeping and waking. Currently, medical procedure lasts from two to three days, so the plan is to extend the time during which the person is in suspended animation, for up to eight days. Due to the addition of a two-day period of wakefulness, you can create a schedule so that a single member of the crew watched the rest, and others were eight days in sleep mode, and two in the awake mode.
This does not mean that people will sleep throughout the journey, but such periods will facilitate a journey for the greater part of the crew, to reduce the weight of psychological and physical stress, and also competently to allocate resources on Board. There is also the hope that time in this suspended animation will increase to several weeks.
Not only SpaceWorks is exploring the idea of immersion of a person into the dream of space travel. The European space Agency instructed his team Advanced Concepts to deal with, among other things, these studies. But the latest work on this subject was published already in 2004.
Skeptics typically doubt the ability of the human body safely and effectively “Wake up” after long periods of hibernation, and also whether our bodies to adapt to healthy functioning at low temperatures. We evolved to function in a certain way (after three days, yeah), and the consequences of long-term exposure to low temperatures is not fully understood.
The research group SpaceWorks is a short and long term. The knowledge that we will get in the way of the study of hibernation may be useful in the medical field, for example, in organ transplantation and emergency care in extreme conditions.
Of course, that will not be soon. According to estimates Bradford, we start to use suspended animation in a manned mission not before 2030. And because Elon Musk plans to send the first settlers with the missile already in 2024, will have to use already proven methods.