I wondered if I should place this in the science group or here in SF. Although it concerns real, demonstrative, science it is also one of the favored vehicles of the SF genre standing on the doorstep of reality.

Mark Roth studies suspended animation: the art of shutting down life processes and then starting them up again. It's wild stuff, but it's not science fiction. Induced by careful use of an otherwise toxic gas, suspended animation can potentially help trauma and heart attack victims survive long enough to be treated.


The video of Roth's speech is about 18 minutes long but it's well worth the time.

They have already had some successful human trials that shows some real promise for victims of traumatic injury, heart attacks, strokes and other life threatening events.

If they are able to increase the time in suspension significantly then people with liver failure, heart failure or other replaceable organs can be put into long term suspension until a donor organ becomes available.

The science fiction vision of hibernation for long space voyages could be close. Even travel within our solar system requires long time durations. Hibernation would cut down on food weight, water and oxygen and; even more important, a crew packed in a small can for half a year could be a critical failure point in the program that can't be predicted; hibernation of most of the crew would reduce that problem significantly and larger crews could be sent.

With the rapid expansion of many of the fields of science and technology this decade may see many of the speculations of the SF writers become realities.

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Replies to This Discussion

That should put another spanner in the works for the religious notion of "soul".
Nah! The soul just goes into a dormant spore stage and becomes vegetative again when the body is re-animated. I think it says that in the bible somewhere.
Actually, the soul, apparently, is independent of the body - almost having no use for it. After all, a billion years after the entire universe has reached heat death - forget about the dust of your bones - Christian souls will just have gotten started with the interminable worship on their insubstantial knees!
Ya know - the thought of living forever is entirely unappealing to me. I have an instinct to survive like everyone else - and my reptile brain reacts accordingly. And I have a joie-de-vivre that offers me no interest in dying before I have to. But, after an incident with a near fatal infectious disease and subsequent drastic surgery (that happened to coincide with my full realization of atheism) I found I have no intellectual or emotionally based fear of death.

But the idea of getting to see what's going on in a few hundred years is both terrifying and totally exhilarating. And the idea of walking on a distant planet or, even orbiting a distant sun has been a fantasy of mine since I was ten.
the thought of living forever is entirely unappealing to me.

I couldn't agree more. What the Xtians offer is the most unappealing prospect I can imagine. Existing forever in the company of an all powerful psychopath ......uh! I'll take the dirt nap.
Not interested either but, it would be cool to see what progress is made in the future.
Yes - I have decided that getting a couple of weeks every hundred years or so might be nice. But I still prefer actively participating in my time. Plus, what if things go really bad and I am awakened because they have run low on slave labor? Still, I would probably be willing to take that chance, if I get ridiculously wealthy and the technology emerges before I kick. Otherwise, I want to be buried in one of the 'natural' cemeteries that are cropping up all over - where your unembalmed body is prepared as fertilizer for a tree in a nature trail.

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