SUMMARY: Researchers from the European Space Agency are considering ways that astronauts could hibernate on the 6-9 month trip to Mars, consuming significantly less food, air and water. The researchers have been studying mammals which hibernate, and it turns out, they do their tricks in different ways. A dormouse goes into a deep sleep; its temperature drops nearly to zero, and its metabolism is dramatically suppressed. A brown bear hibernates at almost its regular temperature, and slows its heart rate slightly, but it still doesn't need to eat or drink for 3-7 months. A chemical called DADLE has been able to induce a hibernation-like slowdown in rats.
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