A journey to a star would mean a minimum of 20 years in the confinement of a spaceship – not impossible but a physical and mental strain for the crew – would they arrive in the right frame of mind to tackle the rigours of a new environment. Also they would be at least 20 years older, so experienced astronauts in their 30’s would already be ‘old’ on arrival. Maybe our crew would comprise of families with babies who would be young adults at the end of the journey. But this scenario is more likely for colonisation far ahead in the future. 

So some form of hibernation, a method of protracted sleep, is almost certainly a must for future travel to our nearest stars. The term that springs to most people’s minds is cryo-hibernation [cryo meaning cold] but let us immediately dismiss the myth that you can freeze the human body and thaw back to life years later. Our bodies are 65% water and when that freezes it expands because ice has a lower density. The damage to sensitive cells and membranes would be traumatic. It’s a great process for preserving meats, fish etc in our freezers but in no way addresses human hibernation. 

A cryo process is almost certainly the way forward as we have to slow down dramatically the bodies’ metabolism whilst maintaining a supply of oxygen to every vital organ. A hibernation temperature in the range +10 degrees Celsius to -5 degrees would be required but for the lower temperatures some form of antifreeze would have to be injected into the bloodstream which could cause complications. I consider that +5 degrees Celsius would be optimum to operate a minimal metabolism whilst maintaining tissue integrity. 

There are many other issues to consider. When you wake in the morning you often feel stiff and can hardly get your eyes open! How would we cope after 20 years sleep?

I will discuss these issues in future posts and propose the technology and equipment for successful hibernation but if you want to pre-empt this then…. 

….board my starship in 2150 and sleep for 20 years when you will arrive at the star Seren, 10 light years away, in search of – The Blue People of Cloud Planet.                         

 Read the first few chapters of  The Blue People of  Cloud Planet

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  1. My thoughts on long term space travel, taking in count Einstein’s theory that has been proven. “When a craft moves faster than the speed of light, time slows down on that craft.” A space craft moving at the speed of light seems science fiction, but I believe, by the mid 21st century we will have such a craft.
    When moving at such speeds the human body will most likely shot down or go to sleep. I’m thinking once we have a space craft traveling at such speeds, it will go faster and faster through space, so half way to that planet that is over a hundred light years away it will need to start slowing down.
    The people will be sleeping with a feeding tube, not in ice pods, but the time for them will not be but a few years. It will be like waking up from a coma circling the new world.
    Traveling with in our solar system will be cut down to two hours, a hour to reach light speed and an hour to slow down, but just a few seconds to circle the sun to Mars.
    “The New Mars” by John L. Manning Jr. were his first SP Sci-Fi Books.

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