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NASA to Invest in Deep Sleep-Inducing Spacecraft for Long Haul Space Mission

May 16, 2016 05:00 AM EDT
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NASA is making sure that the astronauts are well protected in their future space exploration, that's why they are granting funds to projects which aim to improve lives of men in outer space through NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program.

"The NIAC program is one of the ways NASA engages the U.S. scientific and engineering communities, including agency civil servants, by challenging them to come up with some of the most visionary aerospace concepts," said Steve Jurczyk, associate administrator of NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate.

  

The deep sleep inducing habitat spacecraft may sound like a line from a fiction movie, but we are about to witness the technology happen in real life as NASA just granted funding to the project.

In the final report by  SpaceWorks, they presented the concept of designing a spacecraft which can transport space crew from Earth to Mars and vice versa. The spacecraft will be designed to put crew in deep sleep to hasten the transpost process. In the process, the astronauts will be induced to a state of unconsciousness.

"This new and innovative habitat design is capable of placing the crew in an inactive, torpor state for the duration of the in-space mission segments. This substantially reduces the mass and size of the habitat, which ultimately leads to significant reductions in the overall architecture size" SpaceWorks said.

SpaceWorks is developing the Therapeutic Hypothermia (TH) process to induce deep sleep. TH is "a proven and effective treatment for various traumatic injuries. TH is a medical treatment that lowers a patient's body temperature by just 5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit causing their metabolism to reduce significantly and the body to enter an unconscious state" said SpaceWorks.

But TH hasn't been used in a non-medical treatment way that's why further studies had to be conducted. Former studies were able to put patients in a state of TH for up to 14 days.

The advantages of using therapeutic hypothermia in the Mars mission includes reduction in habitat mass and volume, reduction in crew consumables, increased mission margin, simplified anti-gravity systems and more.

According to a news report, NASA will award  $500,000 to the eight chosen projects through their NIAC program.

 

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