How would hibernation assist with space travel?
Switching off is one of the best things to do during interstellar travel. We find out why
Asked by Jenny Wright
Space hibernation is often touted as a way to solve the problem of survival, let alone the boredom, of trying to explore the infinite size of the Universe. Even with the best rocket technology available to us, it has been estimated that a journey to our next nearest star would take approximately 50,000 years. Ignoring our own lifespans, some people struggle to manage two weeks on a cruise ship and they are much larger than your average spaceship!
To avoid people getting cabin fever or having issues with regard to crewing a spacecraft as each generation passes, hibernation has been suggested. In theory, the travellers on board the craft sleep for the majority of the journey as they travel across the vastness of space. They are then woken up for the close approach to a target of interest – such as another world to land on.
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