CAN WE EXERCISE OUR BODY DURING SPACE HIBERNATION?
We need to consider the equipment requirements for an extended cryo-hibernation at say 5 degrees Celsius. We will need a very sophisticated cocoon in which our astronaut can be connected to the many life support systems described in earlier blogs.
We are used to living and moving with gravity a key force on our bodies. However, an extended journey in the zero gravity of space is a major problem for our stationary form in its cryo-pod – we can hardly wake up every few days and run around our spaceship!
So a key issue is how to exercise the body during our 20 year hibernation. We often wake up after one nights’ sleep and stretch to remove stiffness – but after 20 years!
But again, let us get Zec to describe an important component inside the cocoon…
‘I am particularly proud of the design of these units especially the surface of the bed in contact with the user. This is comprised of thousands of vertically aligned sprung rods of PTFE plastic, whose smooth dome diameter is 2 millimetres, and they perfectly mould to the body shape providing comfort. But this is secondary to the key functions of the bed. Firstly the rods are raised and lowered a few millimetres in sequential horizontal rows from top to toe ensuring that no part of the body is in constant contact with the bed thus eliminating sores. Secondly, groups of rods are raised and lowered by significant amounts to gently flex the astronaut’s neck, backbone, limbs and fingers to maintain flexibility through the protracted hibernation. All these functions are controlled by the unit’s computer which is programmed with each astronaut’s precise morphology. Signals are sent to the hydraulically controlled pistons at the lower end of each rod enabling the smooth control of every flexing movement. I consider that these beds are a marvel of 22nd century micro-technology.’
AND HOW CAN WE GET OUR EYES OPEN AFTER 20 YEARS?
Again, Zec has the answer…
‘The average human blinks 30-40 times per minute during waking hours and this ensures that the surface of the eyeball remains lubricated with liquid from the tear ducts. After a night’s sleep we sometimes have a little difficulty opening our eyes but after 20 years? Inside the cocoon and during the day the computer is programmed to send a signal every 5 seconds to each astronaut’s goggles where a short burst of harmless radiation causes spasms in the muscle controlling the blinking process. At the same time, a tiny amount of synthetic tear liquid is atomised in front of each eyeball and condenses onto it thus maintaining lubrication.’
Even so when we arrive at our star it will be many weeks after we wake from cryo-hibernation before we are fit enough to confront what awaits us at a new star. We will need all our wits about us to unravel the Quest of the Dicepterons – please follow link below.
And who or what is Zec you may ask?