Tags: nasa | mars | deep | sleep | astronauts

NASA: Mars Deep Sleep for Astronauts' Trip Would Reduce Provisions

Image: NASA: Mars Deep Sleep for Astronauts' Trip Would Reduce Provisions
A 360-degree digitally-compressed panorama image of Mars is seen in this composite of 800 images sent from the NASA Opportunity rover on Mars released on July 9, 2012. (Arizona State University/NASA/Reuters/Landov)  

By    |   Monday, 06 Oct 2014 05:16 PM

NASA researchers are determining whether astronauts traveling to Mars could be put into a deep sleep to make the long trip.

The simulated hibernation, called torpor, has been used in medicine to take care of patients, and the space agency is considering whether it would reduce the amount of food and water needed to make the six-month trip to reach the surface of the Red Planet, UPI said.

"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," aerospace engineer Mark Schaffer, with SpaceWorks Enterprises in Atlanta, said at the International Astronomical Congress in Toronto last week, Discovery News reported. "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.”

The SpaceWorks study was funded by NASA, and it showed a five-fold decrease in the amount of pressurized volume needed for a crew in a deep sleep, along with a three-fold decrease in the amount of consumables like food and water, the Financial Express reported.

"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," the Express quoted Schaffer.

Interest in Mars missions has increased in the last few years, with exploratory missions looking for evidence of life on the planet. In addition, entrepreneur Elon Musk also has pushed Mars colonization as a possible “extinction insurance,” a place for people to go should Earth experience a catastrophe.

A few people online were intrigued with the idea of putting astronauts in a deep sleep for the trip to Mars, and some made jokes about it.



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NASA researchers are determining whether astronauts traveling to Mars could be put into a deep sleep to make the long trip.
nasa, mars, deep, sleep, astronauts
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2014-16-06
Monday, 06 Oct 2014 05:16 PM
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