Sci-fi becomes reality, as NASA along with Atlanta based, Space Works develop advanced prototypes for space travel. John Bradford CEO of Space Works provided NASA with the preliminary method of space travel. Long-term space travel has been a mission of many, yet has remained remote. The hazardous space environment, could create several threats to astronauts/consumers, health and psychological wellbeing. NASA has found that besides the psychological stress of isolation, astronauts would have to overcome, zero gravity for extended periods. Consequences of zero gravity is muscle wastage and bone decalcification. Also of concer is radiation from the Sun over long periods of exposure, can result in cancer.
Until recently, these obstacles prevented strategic development of long term human space missions. With medical technical advancements, Bradford’s team has created a sleeper spaceship. The sleeper spaceship carries 6 passengers and utilities artificially induced hibernation. NASA space studies now can be a reality, as astronauts travel unconsciously while their metabolism is altered into slow motion. Space travel to Mars is a 180 days, with this new technology, 160 of those days could be spent in a state of torpor stasis.
The torpor periods would be supervised by rotating flight members. Each member would be scheduled to awake for a brief period, to check in on the other members. This would include checking their intravenous feeding tubes, urine removal systems, Earth communication, and temperature modulators. The members are awakened when the hibernation module hooks up a medical system. The medical system inserts body cooling tubes through the nostrils. Heating pads regulate temperature, to make sure the body doesn’t cool too rapidly.
The body temperature must drop only about five degrees Fahrenheit—98.6 to about 93 degrees. Sedatives in the feeding lines would suppress the members shiver flexes. The space sleeper unit, rotates creating a centrifugal force simulating gravity. This would prevent the consequences of zero gravity. The hibernation of astronauts makes the possibility of long term space missions more of a reality. These missions would be easier and more affordable with minimal health risk.
Torpor Stasis is based on current medical procedures, used to suspend a patient during cardiac arrest incidences, attenuating injuries, brain injuries, and improving neurologic outcomes. In 2005 American Heart Association provided guidelines for therapeutic hypothermia, a resuscitation science dating back to Hippocrates. The procedure includes returning an unconscious adult patient to spontaneous circulation after hospital cardiac arrest at 32-34 Celsius for 12-24 hours. The cooling method used to induce hypothermia coma includes ice packs, cooling blankets with heat exchange devices, cooling helmet for the brain, cooling methods for catheter-based technologies, cooling methods for infusion of cold fluids.
Achieving cooling target temperature (torpor stasis) can be reached within 3-4 hours. The rewarming begins 24 hours after the operation. Mean arterial pressure (MAP) is used to control hypertension. While hemodynamic instability is monitored in case of dysrhythmia (bleeding) develops. ECG Osbourne monitor heart rate and the skin is checked every 2-6 hours for thermal injuries caused by the cold blankets.
The use of therapeutic hypothermia in space travel is, “Ultimately, what we’ll have to do…It may take some time to get it to the state of effectiveness we want it to go to,” Bradford stated. The project is less than 20 years (estimated 2030). NASA’s recent SLS (Space Launch System) with the new Orion spacecraft expected to launch December 04, 2014: NASA is preparing for the first human test mission to Mars, in 2030. Bradford believes that if all goes well with NASA’s intended future launches, the sleep spacecraft could be a great vehicle for colonization of the moon or mars.
Adler, Jonathan (MD).(2014). Therapeutic Hypothermia. Medscap. http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/812407-overview
Brumfield, Ben. (2014). Sleeper spaceship could carry first humans to Mars in hibernation state. CNN. Retrieved from: http://us.cnn.com/2014/10/07/tech/innovation/mars-hibernation-flight/index.html?iid=article_sidebar
N.A.S.A, (2014). Human Exploration: Goal 4: Prepare for the Human Exploration of Mars. N.A.S.A. Programs and Missions. Retrieved: from http://mars.nasa.gov/programmissions/science/goal4/
McKinnon, Mika. (2014). The Orion Spacecraft is at the Launch Pad and Strapped to its rocket. Space-Kinja. Retrieved from: http://space.io9.com/the-orion-spacecraft-is-at-the-launch-pad-and-strapped-1658202641