By Jordan Pearson
Trips to other worlds aren’t short, and packing enough food and supplies to keep astronauts alive for months at a time is a major challenge. One proposed solution? Deep sleep, or, more accurately, an induced state of hypothermia resulting in torpor, a kind of hibernation. You know, like bears do.
Except in this case, NASA-funded researchers plan on inducing torpor with RhinoChill, a device that uses invasive tubes to shoot cooling liquid up the nose and into the base of the brain.
When it comes to space travel, “anytime you introduce humans, it gets an order of magnitude or two more challenging,” says Bobby Braun, NASA’s former chief technologist. This is especially true when it comes to eventually shipping people to Mars.
Flying people to another planet poses a ton of technical and logistical challenges, which NASA is addressing with innovations like the Z-2 space suit. One of the largest hurdles is figuring out how to fit a crew on a spaceship with enough food, entertainment, and amenities to last for the estimated 180-day journey to Mars without going over budget.
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