Do Astronauts Use Hypersleep Chambers Like in Movies?

  • Thread starter ConcealedDreamer
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In summary, the conversation discusses the possibility of astronauts going into hypersleep chambers for long periods of time, such as 8 months, and the potential issues and challenges associated with this concept. The participants mention that such technology does not currently exist and even if it did, there would be problems with maintaining the astronaut's health and well-being. The conversation also touches on the effects of extended space travel on the human body, including bone and muscle loss, and the need for exercise and artificial gravity to combat these issues. The topic of cryogenics is brought up, but it is noted that the technology is not yet perfected and has not been used in space missions. The conversation also briefly discusses the use of sedatives and lowering body temperature for medical
  • #1
ConcealedDreamer
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I was watching a movie, and I was wondering if astronauts really do go to hypersleep chambers. Do they actually go into a chamber and put to sleep for 8 months?
 
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  • #2
Let me guess. Was it rocketman? :biggrin:
 
  • #3
Um, none of our astronauts go anywhere that would take 8 months...

No, such things do not exist.
 
  • #4
russ_watters said:
Um, none of our astronauts go anywhere that would take 8 months...

No, such things do not exist.
Even if such a need currently existed, the technology doesn't. It's the same problem that they have with cryogenic storage of bodies for 'future revival'. Human cells can't survive the freezing process as yet, primarily due to ice crystal formation that both punctures the cellular membranes and expands the fluid with severe force. They're looking into the use of the natural 'antifreeze' present in fish, but I don't think they've gotten very far with it. You would also have to consider the effects of muscular atrophication during such a long dormant phase. You couldn't have artificially induced motion to maintain tone, because the body would be rigid. I'd be inclined to think that better results might be achieved using the 'zombie' drug (I can't remember what it is, but I think that it's similar to curare). It slows autonomic functions so much that the victim appears to be dead. With artificial oxygen infusion and nutrient feeds, I can see it being effective over reasonable lengths of time. An excercise machine could be used in that case. That's just my opinion, though; I'm certainly no expert.
 
  • #5
Danger said:
Even if such a need currently existed, the technology doesn't. It's the same problem that they have with cryogenic storage of bodies for 'future revival'. Human cells can't survive the freezing process as yet, primarily due to ice crystal formation that both punctures the cellular membranes and expands the fluid with severe force. They're looking into the use of the natural 'antifreeze' present in fish, but I don't think they've gotten very far with it. You would also have to consider the effects of muscular atrophication during such a long dormant phase. You couldn't have artificially induced motion to maintain tone, because the body would be rigid. I'd be inclined to think that better results might be achieved using the 'zombie' drug (I can't remember what it is, but I think that it's similar to curare). It slows autonomic functions so much that the victim appears to be dead. With artificial oxygen infusion and nutrient feeds, I can see it being effective over reasonable lengths of time. An excercise machine could be used in that case. That's just my opinion, though; I'm certainly no expert.
There are issues even with constant exposure to normal flight.. and problems as simple as:
American studies have shown that cosmonauts have lost incredible amounts of bone mass from the lower vertebrae, hips and upper femur at an average rate of one percent per month for the entire duration of their missions.
We have a way to go to get to the next new frontier. :frown:
 
  • #6
SOS2008 said:
There are issues even with constant exposure to normal flight.. and problems as simple as:
We have a way to go to get to the next new frontier. :frown:
Too true. I thought that NASA had worked out some sort of excercise schedule that minimized bone loss, but I'm not sure how effective it is, and wouldn't be applicable to a dormant subject. If a ship could maintain a constant approx. 1g acceleration to midpoint, then the same deceleration rate, the problem wouldn't arise. That, of course, awaits a high-thrust engine with the same sort of efficiency as an ion drive. I can't remember right now what thread we were discussing that in, but it's within a page or 2 of here. We should have Ivan and Astronuc on board for an expert opinion.
 
  • #7
does putting an astronaut to sleep for 8 months have to mean cryogenics?

they could just knock them out and feed them through tubes, like being in a coma.

on a side note, a company by the name of Rom Polac actually tried to find such a 'hibernation' drug for cosmonauts in 50's Europe. they came up with chlorpromazine. it didn't work for hibernation, but it became the world's first neuroleptic, or anti-pschotic!
 
  • #8
Russ covered it - no cryogenics or deep sleep has been used, and Danger covered the problems. The longest missions of US astronauts have been to ISS, and the Russians on MIR. No one was on cryogenic systems - that technology, specifically revival has not been perfected.

Astronauts in 0 g need to exercise to keep from losing bone and muscle mass, and even that may not be adquate for long voyages. Knocking them out would do more harm than good. Besides, in a coma, not only would they need feeding tubes, but also tubes for waste elimination. :yuck:

Trips to Mars either need to be fast (a few months), which means lots of energy - or they must incorporate an artificial gravity system.

Even so, it now appears that radiation is a bigger problem than originally thought, so shielding is a major issue.

There are some interesting developments in the field of anesthesia. My brother-in-law, an anesthesiologist, was telling me about how they drop the patient's body temperature while using sediatives (something like barbiturates(?)) to basically shutdown the brain, i.e. the patient is effectively brain dead for up to 1 hour. This is necessary in order to 'replace' the section of aorta from which the carotid and subclavian arteries extend. The time limit for now is one hour in order to prevent permanent brain damage or death. The alternative to the operation is a ruptured aorta which means death.
 
  • #9
Astronuc said:
My brother-in-law, an anesthesiologist, was telling me about how they drop the patient's body temperature while using sediatives (something like barbiturates(?)) to basically shutdown the brain, i.e. the patient is effectively brain dead for up to 1 hour. This is necessary in order to 'replace' the section of aorta from which the carotid and subclavian arteries extend. The time limit for now is one hour in order to prevent permanent brain damage or death. The alternative to the operation is a ruptured aorta which means death.
That's pretty cool! (Honest, no pun intended.) I know of them chilling someone with ice baths for other purposes, but this is the first time I've ever heard of this technique. That must be one hell of a tricky job for the guy in your bro'-in-law's position; there's a pretty fine line between mostly dead and seriously dead.
 
  • #10
Huckleberry said:
Let me guess. Was it rocketman? :biggrin:


Yes! I was watching that!
 

What is hypersleep?

Hypersleep, also known as cryosleep or suspended animation, is a state of deep sleep in which the body's metabolic functions are significantly reduced. It is often used in science fiction as a way to transport astronauts on long space journeys.

How does hypersleep work?

Hypersleep involves lowering the body's temperature and slowing down bodily functions, including heart rate, breathing, and brain activity. This is typically achieved through the use of drugs, such as sedatives and muscle relaxants, which are administered through an IV. The body is then placed in a special chamber designed to maintain a low temperature and provide necessary nutrients and fluids.

What are the benefits of hypersleep for astronauts?

Hypersleep can help astronauts conserve energy and resources on long space journeys, as their bodies require less food, water, and oxygen while in this state. It also reduces the effects of prolonged exposure to zero gravity, such as muscle and bone loss, and can help protect against radiation exposure.

What are the risks of hypersleep for astronauts?

There are several potential risks associated with hypersleep, including the possibility of adverse reactions to the drugs used, such as allergic reactions or organ damage. There is also a risk of complications arising from the body's reduced metabolic functions, such as blood clots or infections. Additionally, the process of reviving an astronaut from hypersleep can be challenging and may result in physiological and psychological side effects.

Is hypersleep currently used by astronauts?

While hypersleep is a popular concept in science fiction, it is not currently used by astronauts. However, research is ongoing to develop safe and effective methods of inducing and maintaining hypersleep for long-term space travel. Some experiments have been conducted with animals, and there have been a few cases of humans being placed in short-term hypersleep for medical purposes. However, more research and testing are needed before hypersleep can be utilized for space travel.

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