TECHNOLOGY FOR CRYO-HIBERNATION – 2

CAN WE SLOW OUR METABOLISM FOR EXTENDED SPACE TRAVEL?

It looks like we could cryo-sleep for the three month journey to Mars, but what about a twenty year voyage to the stars? That is going to require some major advances in medicine and equipment.         

So, we need to consider the medical and equipment requirements for an extended cryo-hibernation at say 5 degrees Celsius. This post will focus on medical issues.

The bodies’ metabolism must be slowed to a minimum ‘ticking over’ state whilst maintaining oxygen and blood flow to all vital organs and tissues albeit at a very low rate. This will need some very clever genetically modified DNA or stem cell technology by the end of this century – we certainly don’t have it now.

But let us get Zec to describe this….

‘It is not possible to freeze someone and then thaw them out in some years’ time – the body is 65-75% water and when that turns to ice it expands – think of the damage to delicate nerve ends, capillaries. If you cool someone down, they start shivering in an attempt to generate heat and if they can’t generate enough they die of hypothermia. The key to cryo – hibernation was to cool the body very slowly and at the same time to slow the body functions so that they required very little heat to maintain life. The breakthrough in animal testing 30 years ago (around the turn of the 22nd century) was the use of new strains of genetically engineered DNA which were introduced into the body as it cooled. These controlled the slowdown of body functions, pulse, brain activity etc. and through an exothermic reaction produced minute amounts of heat right at the key points of activity. Provided that the cooling and warming periods were long enough, the infused DNA balanced the bodily rates and the amount of heat required.’

Thus the process was proved first on animals that were successfully recovered after periods of up to 5 years cryo-hibernation. They were in very good health and, surprisingly, showed no deterioration in tissue quality. They appeared not to have aged!

Proving the process on animals was a major breakthrough but how do you entice volunteers to gain confidence that cryo-hibernation works for humans and for periods of up to 20 years?

The answer may surprise you, so perhaps you would like to take a 20 year cryo-sleep to the star Seren and wake up at Cloud Planet to discover life elsewhere. But your journey through time and space is only just beginning.

Plus you will also find out who or what Zec is! Click the link below.

                        

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CAN MAN HIBERNATE FOR PROTRACTED SPACE TRAVEL? – 2

WATCH THIS NASA VIDEO ON HIBERNATION TO MARS

This is a relatively short duration but the principles and problems to solve are the same. Let’s now consider getting to our nearest star.

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. Follow the link below. 

                       

 

HOW CAN WE PROPEL A STARSHIP TOWARDS LIGHT SPEED? – 2

WATCH STEPHEN HAWKING’S – ROCKET TO THE FUTURE

That was six years ago – it would be a huge ship and require an enormous quantity of fuel. But the principle is sound. In the vacuum of space you can continuously accelerate and ultimately approach a significant fraction of the speed of light.

Now there are serious plans to send a spacecraft to the stars! But on a much smaller scale, but the principle is the same.

Not big enough to take astronauts, but could the principle be scaled up?

For now let’s look at ion propulsion in more detail.

Let us imagine a journey to a star 10 light years away. We start from Mars orbit and outside the planet’s gravitational pull and use advanced rocket technology to reach Jupiter. This is a journey of 555 million kilometres [km] taking 7-8 months at 100,000 km per hour. [Approx. estimate of future capability]

We use the immense mass of Jupiter to attract and accelerate our craft onto a collision course [initially] and at the critical moment re-fire the advanced rockets to sling our spaceship around the gas giant and onto its new trajectory and new speed of 1 million km/hour.

Now we start the nuclear reactor, the only power plant capable of sustaining thrust over a 20 year journey [unless we discover something remarkable during the next 100 years]. The heat output from this reactor would be used to power a new type of drive capable of pushing our craft towards light speed. I will describe one concept which has been around for decades, surprisingly – the ion drive.

Here a stream of positively charged hydrogen ions [H+] is ejected at high speed from the rear of the object being propelled. The thrust is small but in the vacuum of space even a large object can be manoeuvred and accelerated provided you have enough thrusters. The ion drive of a starship is likely to be 50-80 metres in diameter and each of the thrusters say 5 cm round. You could get over 2 million thrusters in this drive [clustered around the advanced rockets] all contributing their power from the emitting stream of hydrogen ions.

By providing constant sufficient acceleration you would design to accelerate from 0.001c to 0.5c in 1 year [c = speed of light].

Thus our journey to a star 10 light years away would be approximately 23 years – 2 years to accelerate, 20 to get there and 1 year to slow down to a manageable speed to orbit around a target planet of our destination star.

 I’m sure the mathematicians among you can calculate the acceleration required and the typical thrust needed from each tube – can we achieve this in 150 years time?

CAN WE PROPEL A STARSHIP TOWARDS LIGHT SPEED?

I think we can and in 2150 my starship leaves Mars for the star Seren, 10 light years away. You may wish to watch the event in 1972 that sparked my story.

IMAGINE THE UNIMAGINABLE!

Read all about it in my sci-fi trilogy – Quest of the Dicepterons.  Follow the link below.

                          

CAN MAN TRAVEL AT THE SPEED OF LIGHT? – 2

WATCH BRIAN COX HELP OUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE SPEED OF LIGHT.

According to our laws of physics the answer is no. But the question for space travellers is how near the speed of light [c] can we get?

Light travels at 300,000 [approx] kilometres per second [186,000 miles per second]. When we look at our sun, not directly of course, we are seeing it as it was 8 minutes and 19 seconds ago. That is the time for light to travel 150 million kilometres [93 million miles]. 

Stars and galaxies are so far away that we express their distances in light years – the distance light travels in 1 year – 10 trillion kilometres [approx] – an unimaginable distance. 

Thus our nearest star is 4.2 light years away, our nearest galaxy 25,000 light years away and the Andromeda galaxy is a staggering 2.5 million light years away. 

For man only stars up to 10 light years away are potentially reachable. But to do this we need to travel at a significant fraction of the speed of light, say between 0.1 and 0.5c and this would equate to a journey time of 100 and 20 years respectively. 

In my view a journey time between 20 and 40 years is the optimum that human beings could tolerate – assuming we can crack hibernation [which I’ll talk about in a later Blog]. Therefore we would need to develop technology to propel a starship at between a quarter and half the speed of light. But can we do this? 

I will discuss the technology for achieving these speeds in my next Blog – but you might like to see how I achieve a journey to a star 10 light years away in my sci-fi trilogy – Quest of the Dicepterons.

Watch my video trailer to see the event in 1972 that seeded my story.

Follow the link below to my website for options to obtain e-books and paperbacks.

CAN MAN TRAVEL AT THE SPEED OF LIGHT?

The answer to my basic question is no, but a Dicepteron can! 

 

                          

 

WE ARE NOT ALONE IN THE UNIVERSE – 2

UPDATED WITH LATEST DATA ON DISCOVERED EXOPLANETS

Our sun is one of over 100 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy and there are more than 100 billion galaxies in the universe which was formed about 4.5 billion years ago.

 Life on Earth has existed for many hundreds of millions of years and in our humanoid form, for only the last 10,000.

It is the author’s belief that considering the vastness of space and the sheer numbers of stars, it is highly probable we are not alone and that parallel or very different life forms have evolved elsewhere. Within our solar system they will certainly be far more primitive than us but as we move out to the stars the chances of life comparable or more advanced increase.

Our nearest star is Proximo Centuari about 5 light years away and at 8.3 light years distant is Lalande 21185 in the constellation Ursa Major. This latter star has two confirmed planets in orbit which are gas giants like Jupiter.

EXCITING NEW DISCOVERIES

During the last five years, the number of identified stars with planets has grown dramatically. The latest count [25/12/17] is 3572 exoplanets with 53 earth-like worlds.

The most exciting find recently is Trappist-1, a dwarf red star 39 light years away. A huddle of seven worlds, all close in size to Earth, and perhaps warm enough for water and the life it can sustain, has been spotted around this faint star in the constellation of Aquarius.

Surely now it is only a matter of time before we find the perfect ‘Earth-like’ candidate and identify the all important chemical building blocks for life?

IMAGINE LIFE ELSEWHERE?

But what if something finds us first? Or maybe it already has and we are unaware of it?!

In other galaxies, where conditions could be very different from the Milky Way, who knows what kind of beings may have evolved and what level of intelligence they have achieved?

ENTER THE DICEPTERONS

Watch my trailer and see what inspired me to write a scifi trilogy about life elsewhere in the Universe.

Follow the link below to find out more, perhaps read the start of my stories and maybe get your own copies which are available in e-book and paperback.

IMAGINE LIFE ELSEWHERE?

IMAGINE THE UNIMAGINABLE!

IS THERE LIFE ELSEWHERE? – YOU BET THERE IS!

                                                      

                                      

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During the past 20 posts I have tried to take you, the reader, through a technical journey of feasibility of space travel to the stars. I believe this will be possible by the mid 22nd century and that the necessary technologies will have been developed by then.

But why go to the stars? The simple answer is because they are there! Mankind has always strived to conquer the four corners of the Earth, has visited the Moon and will in the next few decades land on Mars.

But ultimately we may have to find another habitable planet. Look at the damage we are doing to our own ‘home’ because we are not taking the environmental issues seriously. Look at the population explosion and the many factions on this planet that are focussed on its destruction. I fear for the future of our world during the next couple of centuries. hs-2009-25-e-web

But the big question is still – is there life elsewhere? – And I am utterly convinced there is. I am sure we will soon discover evidence in our own solar system of relatively simple life-forms that existed [on Mars] or may exist now in the sub-surface oceans of Titan, Saturn’s moon. But what about life as we see it all around us? There could be a billion Earth-like planets in the Milky Way galaxy and there are billions of galaxies in the Universe. I have shown how the building blocks for life have been formed in the furnaces of dying stars and then flung to all parts of the cosmos during Supernovae.

In pure numbers terms, life must have evolved elsewhere – but what would it look like? If there had not been an asteroid collision 66 million years ago on Earth then this blog might be being written by a highly intelligent dinosaur! 

In our humanoid form we have evolved over the last 200,000 years but look what we have done in the last 200 years and where we might be in a further couple of centuries. But our timescale is minute compared to the age of the Universe – what if, somewhere, intelligent ‘life’ has evolved for millions or even hundreds of millions of years? How sophisticated might that be! Ghostscript 24 bit color image dump Ghostscript 24 bit color image dump

I have imagined how life, similar to our own, might have evolved at a nearby star. I have also ‘imagined the unimaginable’ – what if something has evolved for hundreds of millions of years – what might that be capable of? This is the basis for my trilogy – Quest of the Dicepterons – and the first two volumes – The Blue People of Cloud Planet and Disaster Earth set the scene for an amazing journey of discovery. Volume 3 – The Quanoxy Zeric Galaxy is currently being written.                                                                           

                                                                                                 

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IS THERE LIFE ELSEWHERE? – THE HABITABLE ZONE

     

                                                

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In the last post I hope I explained how all the elements and building blocks for life came from the death throes of exploding stars. But having produced these ingredients and flung them far and wide throughout the cosmos, we are still a long way from producing life.

The key basic elements for life [as we know it] are hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and carbon. These give us a protective  atmosphere around a planet, water – the key medium in which life first started and the more complex amino acids and proteins that are in every life form.

But although these elements were carried to billions of planets in billions of galaxies, life could only form if a very special set of circumstances were met.

The first of these is the position of the planet within the solar system of a particular star – the habitable zone.

habitable zone

 

Basically this is defined as a range of distance from the star where water can exist on the surface of a planet, or below the surface, in one or more of its forms – ice, liquid water, water vapour or steam. But crucially the planet must be able to hold on to this water for the millions of years necessary for life to form and evolve.

Our solar system gives us a good example of the habitable zone which stretches from the orbits of Venus to that of Mars. Outside of these orbits is Mercury which is so near the Sun that water cannot remain on its surface because of its high temperatures. Outside of Mars orbit we have planets that are either gas giants e.g. Jupiter or cold rocky planets far from a recognised habitable area.

Situated in the most perfect position with respect to its star is Earth where temperature, the presence of an atmosphere and an abundance of liquid water have resulted in the most amazing diversity of life.


ku-mediumBut being in the right position i.e. in the habitable zone, does not guarantee life or sustained life. The planet must be able to hold on to its life making elements and protect itself against solar radiation.

The best examples of this are Earth and Mars, both within the habitable zone but one is bristling with life whereas the other is a dusty rocky planet. However, about 4 billion years ago Mars had extensive water on its surface and a reasonable atmosphere and life may have formed in a primitive way. I hope the current Mars rover will find incontrovertible proof of this.

Channels_near_Warrego_in_Thaumasia

So what happened? In simple terms, Earth held onto its water and atmosphere whereas Mars did not. Earth’s iron core generates a magnetosphere which deflects the damaging solar radiation [see previous post]. However Mars has no protective shell and the result of the continuous solar bombardment was to slowly strip away the atmosphere and then the liquid water. Now there are small amounts of ice at the poles and below the surface and very little atmosphere. If life did form on Mars the evidence will be below the surface.

There may be life outside the habitable zone in our Solar System. Saturn’s moon, Titan has an atmosphere and oceans below the surface. So it has water and there is every chance that life may have formed and evolved below the surface.

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So “is there life elsewhere?” – You bet there is!

Why not take a journey with Olivia Medici and Scott Parker to the star Seren and learn how I envisage that life may have evolved elsewhere. Be prepared to discover the unimaginable!                                                                                

                                                                                                 

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