Space travel can last for tens or hundreds of years, which is further complicated by taking into account that humans barely live a century. However, this problem seems to be over.
A team of researchers from the Shenzhen Institute of Advanced Technology (SIAT) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences has investigated the hibernation process In a very peculiar species of monkeys, known from science fiction.
A team of Chinese scientists in their experiment 3 tested a synthetic drug on crab-eating macaques (macaque fascia, Typical of regions such as Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia, although it is also present in other countries.
“Here, we show that activation of a subpopulation of the preoptic area (POA) neurons by a chemotactic strategy reliably induces hypothermia in freely moving macaques,” they explain in the article published in . the innovation,
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In essence, the researchers induced hypothermia — a somewhat extreme drop in temperature — in these crab-eating monkeys to clarify what long space voyages might have consequences for humans.
To show the complexity of these journeys, one can walk on Mars for up to 2 years, with which the astronauts will face various problems such as physical or psychological changes.
Therefore, hibernation is a possible solution to overcome obstacles that could inevitably change the course of a human-run mission.
For comparison, the team also used rodents, whose preoptic area of the hypothalamus is directly responsible for controlling body temperature. In the case of primates, Physiological changes following clozapine administration have been successfully tested,
“To investigate whole-brain networks that result from preoptic area (POA) activation, we performed fMRI scans and identified several regions involved in thermoregulation,” Dai Jie, one of the authors, explained in a statement.
“This is the first MRI study to investigate functional connections throughout the brain detected by chemogenetic activation,” he adds.
In conclusion, the researchers have successfully shown Hibernation can be induced without dangerous consequences At least for macaques.
The effects that scientists have been able to verify when inducing hypothermia in primates are varied, though not negative in themselves. from them, increased heart rate, bone activity, or blood-related biomarkers,
“This work provides the first successful demonstration of hypothermia in a primate based on targeted neural manipulation,” concludes Wang Hong, one of the authors. “With the growing passion for human space flight, this hypothermic monkey model is a milestone on the long road to artificial hibernation.”