Sending humans into space beyond the moon raises logistic, food, and psychological challenges that we’re only just beginning to comprehend.
Before we dive into our topic, let us tell you that Smithville Fiber has a solution for your internet needs. And the solution to these issues in science fiction is often as simple as putting the void-travelers to sleep. During hibernation, metabolism slows down, and the mind is spared the monotony of waiting out endless empty hours.
The idea of putting astronauts into a type of hibernation instead of faster-than-light travel or wormholes appears on the verge. Even the European Space Agency is investigating its science.
The implications of new research conducted by a group of Chilean scholars suggest that a mathematical barrier may prevent us from turning the potential for long-term human stasis into reality, indicating it’s as far out of our grasp as ever.
The quest to figure out how much energy animals hibernate burn began when researchers discovered a minimal level of metabolism that allows cells to survive in cold, low-oxygen conditions. The energy savings we might anticipate from entering a night of deep, hibernation-style sleep for heavy animals like ourselves would be minor.
We’d be much better off just sleeping our days away from the old-fashioned way
The word hibernation is often associated with a bear curled up in its den for the duration of a long winter’s sleep.
Like other hibernating animals, Bears do not cease functioning entirely during the winter. However, unlike smaller creatures such as ground squirrels and bats, their dormancy isn’t comparable to true hibernation.
Body temperature plummets, and metabolism decreases in these creatures, leading to a heart rate and breathing drop. This method may save up to 98% of energy expenditure by eliminating the need to search or forage.
Despite having a high food supply, the animal may still lose more than a fifth of body weight as it burns through its stored energy.
If we continue this thought, our fearless space tourists resting in their custom-equipped beds will lose approximately six grams of fat each day. It can add up to two kilograms in a year.
It may suffice if you’re going to a distant star on the Jovian Moons. However, if an average person is required to float for decades through interstellar space before reaching a close star, they’ll need to add a few hundred pounds of fat.
The conservationists’ estimate may be too conservative since it hinges on several assumptions, including how hibernation might scale. After all, there must surely be a compelling reason for the scarcity of massive hibernating animals our size (or larger).
So, the researchers conducted a statistical analysis on various hibernating species, as previously reported
The researchers interpreted the energy expenditure of hibernating creatures in a balanced way. Hence, a gram of tissue from a tiny mammal-like leaf-eared bat, which weighs 25 grams, consumes the same energy as a gram of tissue from an 820-gram ground squirrel.
It’s possible that if we ever figured out how to hibernate as effectively as a dormouse, every gram of our tissue needs the same amount of energy as each gram of theirs.
However, when animals are active, it’s a different story. A slightly altered graph reveals a point at which hibernating does not save significant energy for bigger creatures when the rate of active metabolism and mass scaling is considered.
It implies that our total energy requirements while hibernating will not be significantly higher than those we have when we’re just resting.
Bears may find it challenging to hibernate in the same way that smaller animals are because their bodies are more resilient. However, for us humans, going to all of the effort and risk of cooling our bodies, lowering our heart rates and breathing, and artificially reducing our metabolism may not provide us with the outcomes we desire.
We may as well binge the Expanse, take a few sedatives, and zone out to Mars to save our boredom and avoid devouring the ship’s supply of freeze-dried ice cream. It’s a lot more trouble to force people to hibernate than let them sleep through the cold.
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