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Hypersleep in astronauts?

  1. Apr 16, 2005 #1
    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?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 16, 2005 #2
    Let me guess. Was it rocketman? :biggrin:
  4. Apr 16, 2005 #3


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    Um, none of our astronauts go anywhere that would take 8 months...

    No, such things do not exist.
  5. Apr 17, 2005 #4


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    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.
  6. Apr 17, 2005 #5


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    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:
  7. Apr 17, 2005 #6


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    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.
  8. Apr 17, 2005 #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!
  9. Apr 17, 2005 #8


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    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.
  10. Apr 17, 2005 #9


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    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.
  11. Apr 17, 2005 #10

    Yes!!!!! I was watching that!!
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