Um espelho que reflecte a vida, que passa por nós num segundo (espelho)

27
Ago 13

(space.com)



Reducing cost and risks

                                                                                                      

It takes six to nine months to get to Mars using traditional propulsion technology.

 

But when astronauts eventually take the trip, it would be significantly cheaper and safer for them to hibernate through the vast majority of it, like bears waiting out the winter.

 

"One area would be in radiation shielding," he said. Astronauts "will almost always be contained in one spot. You could significantly increase the radiation shielding over this small area and reduce the dosage they're taking over the mission."

 

Cooling down

 

Bradford's team is trying to leverage and extend medical advances in therapeutic hypothermia, which seeks to prevent tissue damage during periods of low blood flow by lowering core body temperature.

 

For every drop of 1 degree Fahrenheit in body temperature, metabolic rate decreases by 5 to 7 percent, Bradford said. The researchers are aiming for a 10-degree drop during manned Mars missions, or a 50 to 70 percent reduction in metabolic rate.

That's a big drop.

 

The longest anyone has remained in a medically induced hypothermic torpor to date is about 10 days, Bradford said. But that's likely not an upper limit, he stressed; rather, it's a reflection of the low medical need to keep people in such states for prolonged periods of time.

 

"We're trying to give [the medical community] a need, or a rationale" to push the 10-day record out to 30 days and beyond, and to look for any possible attendant complications.

 

Challenges ahead

 

"Typically, you have to have these very slow rotation rates, because spinning too fast makes people sick," he said. (Rotation rate dictates the magnitude of the induced gravitational force.) "Because they're not conscious, they obviously won't be susceptible to disorientation, and we think we can actually put them on a much faster rotation."

 

"There's a lot of research on black bears — they hibernate for five or seven months, and they experience very little muscle atrophy," Bradford said. Scientists "are trying to understand why that is. Are body processes tricking the muscles into thinking they're active? So we're looking at that."

 

Early days

 

At the moment, Bradford said, the strategy looks promising. He thinks it should be possible to put astronauts into a torpor state by the mid-2030s — the same timeframe NASA is targeting for its first manned Mars mission.

 

"I don't think it's quite as far-fetched as some people may think," Bradford said. "My goal would be to have something here in 20 years, and I think a lot of the research and experimentation stuff could begin even sooner."

 

As an example, he said that hypothermia therapy experiments could begin on the International Space Station at pretty much any time.

 

Bradford also sees potential in the longer term, saying that the hibernation approach could make it easier to establish and sustain a permanent Mars colony.

 

(space.com)

publicado por Produções Anormais - Albufeira às 21:40

Agosto 2013
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