FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)

 TORPOR INDUCING TRANSFER HABITAT FOR HUMAN STASIS TO MARS

 

Questions on the Concept and Motivation

SpaceWorks has evaluated a number of Mars mission architectures over the years, from both a performance and cost perspective. Mars exploration is a tough problem that will require a lot of technology development work to get to a feasible system in the foreseeable future. Traditionally, the technology focus is on the propulsion system, as there are a lot of gains to be made there. However, propulsion technology tends to be a very expensive investment area. We wanted to focus on a different aspect of the mission that may be equally advantageous and could be synergistic with any advances in propulsion capability. This naturally led to a focus on the crew and associated systems, with a goal of trying to reduce their ‘footprint,’ or mass contribution to the system.

In short, we are studying the feasibility of putting a Mars-bound crew in a deep-sleep stasis during the 6 to 9-month transfer periods between the Earth and Mars. Currently, we are not performing any actual experiments or clinical trials. Our medical team is examining the existing body of data and case studies for the application of Therapeutic Hypothermia (TH), also known as Targeted Temperature Management (TTM) as our starting point. Building on this medical practice, we are developing the capability to enable prolonged human stasis and metabolic suppression. During the initial 9-month Phase I study funded by the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program under the Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD), we focused on addressing the question of feasibility, evaluating engineering solutions, and exploring the implications for human exploration of Mars. For the Phase II effort under NASA NIAC, we have expanded our medical team and will address a number of questions regarding the medical aspects of this technology. We will also conduct detailed engineering analysis on the habitat design and evaluate the technology’s impact and ability to support future manned missions to the moons of Mars, the asteroid belt, and Jupiter/Saturn systems.

With the crew in a torpor state, we believe we can significantly reduce the mass and volume of the in-space habitat during the outbound and return segments of the mission. This ultimately reduces the entire launch mass for the system. The habitat itself will be a very small module, nominally containing 4 to 6 crew members each in their own sleep chamber. By contrast, a typical habitat for an active crew is required to have space for food preparation/eating, exercise, science stations, bathrooms, sleeping quarters, entertainment, etc.

Many of the psychological-social challenges of prolonged space flight can be eliminated with this system. On a Mars mission, it is typically assumed that a small crew will be confined to a very small space for an extended period of time. The crew is under a lot of stress, a long way from home, and has no way to abort if there is a problem. This environment creates a lot of requirements and constraints pertaining to crew selection, increases the burden on the medical teams to monitor mental well-being, and consequently adds uncertainty to the mission. A lot of these issues are solved if the crew is asleep during peak periods of stress and likely boredom. Ultimately, we think it will be the preferred way to travel! We are eliminating the most mundane portion of the mission. Just imagine going to sleep and waking up on Mars 6 months later, no worse for the wear!

Absolutely not! While it has certainly been inspired by sci-fi, we are taking a much more practical approach. We have volumes of medical research and case studies involving humans that gives credence to and bolsters our claims that this approach is achievable. We are adapting and extending ongoing efforts in medical practice and science.

Good question! No – only various aspects of the approach have been performed here on Earth. Scientists are actively looking at inducing hibernation states in non-hibernating animals. Both the Department of Defense (DOD) and National Institute of Health (NIH) have sponsored work aimed at putting humans in a preservation state in order to extend the time period under which critical care could be administered.

Yes. Both the use of Therapeutic Hypothermia (TH) and Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN) used in our approach are proven medically. For example, people are routinely fed using TPN for durations lasting over a year here on Earth. So we know that solution works well and is understood. We have a small set of data for people undergoing hypothermia therapy for periods of up to 14-days. We have considerably more data for people undergoing TH for shorter periods of 2 to 4 days. We also have instances of individuals undergoing multiple/repeated TH cycles. In all these cases, there have been no reported complications with the patients associated with the TH.

We expect to have a baseline approach from a medical standpoint of how induced torpor for a space crew can be achieved. We hope to have some solid data that our system can significantly impact the design of the Mars architecture. We believe we can show benefits that can be applied to the near-term feasibility of going to Mars, possibly with this technology being the key enabler. We also think we can show benefits for exploration in the longer term, so this is not a capability that would be phased out after a few initial missions.

Medically, the alternate uses of therapeutic hypothermia and sustaining a reduced metabolic condition are still being determined. Research has shown some benefits such as significantly reducing the growth rate of tumors (growth currently resumes upon rewarming) and lowering internal cranial pressure (ICP).

The U.S. military is already very interested in the ability to slow down human metabolism in order to increase the time available to provide critically wounded soldiers with proper care. Our proposed approach is obviously synergistic with those goals.

Similar to the military’s goal, this capability could be used on non-Torpor Mars missions in the event of a serious injury. After putting the injured crewmember in stasis, the rest of the crew would have more time to communicate with doctors on Earth to evaluate the situation and recommend the best solution. This is especially important given the signal time delay between Earth and Mars that can range from 4 to 21 minutes.

You can view the 2016 NIAC Symposium Briefing here:
http://spaceworkseng.com/advancing-torpor-inducing-transfer-habitats-for-human-stasis-to-mars/

You can view an overview briefing on the project here:
http: www.sei.aero/eng/papers/uploads/archive/NIAC-Torpor-Habitat-for-Human-Stasis-2-28-2014.pdf

You can get periodic updates via the Space Torpor blog at:
http://spacetorpor.blogspot.com

You can also get more information from the NASA NIAC project page at:
http://www.nasa.gov/content/torpor-inducing-transfer-habitat-for-human-stasis-to-mars

Questions on the Concept and Motivation

SpaceWorks has evaluated a number of Mars mission architectures over the years, from both a performance and cost perspective. Mars exploration is a tough problem that will require a lot of technology development work to get to a feasible system in the foreseeable future. Traditionally, the technology focus is on the propulsion system, as there are a lot of gains to be made there. However, propulsion technology tends to be a very expensive investment area. We wanted to focus on a different aspect of the mission that may be equally advantageous and could be synergistic with any advances in propulsion capability. This naturally led to a focus on the crew and associated systems, with a goal of trying to reduce their ‘footprint,’ or mass contribution to the system.

In short, we are studying the feasibility of putting a Mars-bound crew in a deep-sleep stasis during the 6 to 9-month transfer periods between the Earth and Mars. Currently, we are not performing any actual experiments or clinical trials. Our medical team is examining the existing body of data and case studies for the application of Therapeutic Hypothermia (TH), also known as Targeted Temperature Management (TTM) as our starting point. Building on this medical practice, we are developing the capability to enable prolonged human stasis and metabolic suppression. During the initial 9-month Phase I study funded by the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program under the Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD), we focused on addressing the question of feasibility, evaluating engineering solutions, and exploring the implications for human exploration of Mars. For the Phase II effort under NASA NIAC, we have expanded our medical team and will address a number of questions regarding the medical aspects of this technology. We will also conduct detailed engineering analysis on the habitat design and evaluate the technology’s impact and ability to support future manned missions to the moons of Mars, the asteroid belt, and Jupiter/Saturn systems.

With the crew in a torpor state, we believe we can significantly reduce the mass and volume of the in-space habitat during the outbound and return segments of the mission. This ultimately reduces the entire launch mass for the system. The habitat itself will be a very small module, nominally containing 4 to 6 crew members each in their own sleep chamber. By contrast, a typical habitat for an active crew is required to have space for food preparation/eating, exercise, science stations, bathrooms, sleeping quarters, entertainment, etc.

Many of the psychological-social challenges of prolonged space flight can be eliminated with this system. On a Mars mission, it is typically assumed that a small crew will be confined to a very small space for an extended period of time. The crew is under a lot of stress, a long way from home, and has no way to abort if there is a problem. This environment creates a lot of requirements and constraints pertaining to crew selection, increases the burden on the medical teams to monitor mental well-being, and consequently adds uncertainty to the mission. A lot of these issues are solved if the crew is asleep during peak periods of stress and likely boredom. Ultimately, we think it will be the preferred way to travel! We are eliminating the most mundane portion of the mission. Just imagine going to sleep and waking up on Mars 6 months later, no worse for the wear!

Absolutely not! While it has certainly been inspired by sci-fi, we are taking a much more practical approach. We have volumes of medical research and case studies involving humans that gives credence to and bolsters our claims that this approach is achievable. We are adapting and extending ongoing efforts in medical practice and science.

Good question! No – only various aspects of the approach have been performed here on Earth. Scientists are actively looking at inducing hibernation states in non-hibernating animals. Both the Department of Defense (DOD) and National Institute of Health (NIH) have sponsored work aimed at putting humans in a preservation state in order to extend the time period under which critical care could be administered.

Yes. Both the use of Therapeutic Hypothermia (TH) and Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN) used in our approach are proven medically. For example, people are routinely fed using TPN for durations lasting over a year here on Earth. So we know that solution works well and is understood. We have a small set of data for people undergoing hypothermia therapy for periods of up to 14-days. We have considerably more data for people undergoing TH for shorter periods of 2 to 4 days. We also have instances of individuals undergoing multiple/repeated TH cycles. In all these cases, there have been no reported complications with the patients associated with the TH.

We expect to have a baseline approach from a medical standpoint of how induced torpor for a space crew can be achieved. We hope to have some solid data that our system can significantly impact the design of the Mars architecture. We believe we can show benefits that can be applied to the near-term feasibility of going to Mars, possibly with this technology being the key enabler. We also think we can show benefits for exploration in the longer term, so this is not a capability that would be phased out after a few initial missions.

Medically, the alternate uses of therapeutic hypothermia and sustaining a reduced metabolic condition are still being determined. Research has shown some benefits such as significantly reducing the growth rate of tumors (growth currently resumes upon rewarming) and lowering internal cranial pressure (ICP).

The U.S. military is already very interested in the ability to slow down human metabolism in order to increase the time available to provide critically wounded soldiers with proper care. Our proposed approach is obviously synergistic with those goals.

Similar to the military’s goal, this capability could be used on non-Torpor Mars missions in the event of a serious injury. After putting the injured crewmember in stasis, the rest of the crew would have more time to communicate with doctors on Earth to evaluate the situation and recommend the best solution. This is especially important given the signal time delay between Earth and Mars that can range from 4 to 21 minutes.

You can view the 2016 NIAC Symposium Briefing here:
http://spaceworkseng.com/advancing-torpor-inducing-transfer-habitats-for-human-stasis-to-mars/

You can view an overview briefing on the project here:
http: www.sei.aero/eng/papers/uploads/archive/NIAC-Torpor-Habitat-for-Human-Stasis-2-28-2014.pdf

You can get periodic updates via the Space Torpor blog at:
http://spacetorpor.blogspot.com

You can also get more information from the NASA NIAC project page at:
http://www.nasa.gov/content/torpor-inducing-transfer-habitat-for-human-stasis-to-mars

Questions on the Concept and Motivation

SpaceWorks has evaluated a number of Mars mission architectures over the years, from both a performance and cost perspective. Mars exploration is a tough problem that will require a lot of technology development work to get to a feasible system in the foreseeable future. Traditionally, the technology focus is on the propulsion system, as there are a lot of gains to be made there. However, propulsion technology tends to be a very expensive investment area. We wanted to focus on a different aspect of the mission that may be equally advantageous and could be synergistic with any advances in propulsion capability. This naturally led to a focus on the crew and associated systems, with a goal of trying to reduce their ‘footprint,’ or mass contribution to the system.

In short, we are studying the feasibility of putting a Mars-bound crew in a deep-sleep stasis during the 6 to 9-month transfer periods between the Earth and Mars. Currently, we are not performing any actual experiments or clinical trials. Our medical team is examining the existing body of data and case studies for the application of Therapeutic Hypothermia (TH), also known as Targeted Temperature Management (TTM) as our starting point. Building on this medical practice, we are developing the capability to enable prolonged human stasis and metabolic suppression. During the initial 9-month Phase I study funded by the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program under the Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD), we focused on addressing the question of feasibility, evaluating engineering solutions, and exploring the implications for human exploration of Mars. For the Phase II effort under NASA NIAC, we have expanded our medical team and will address a number of questions regarding the medical aspects of this technology. We will also conduct detailed engineering analysis on the habitat design and evaluate the technology’s impact and ability to support future manned missions to the moons of Mars, the asteroid belt, and Jupiter/Saturn systems.

With the crew in a torpor state, we believe we can significantly reduce the mass and volume of the in-space habitat during the outbound and return segments of the mission. This ultimately reduces the entire launch mass for the system. The habitat itself will be a very small module, nominally containing 4 to 6 crew members each in their own sleep chamber. By contrast, a typical habitat for an active crew is required to have space for food preparation/eating, exercise, science stations, bathrooms, sleeping quarters, entertainment, etc.

Many of the psychological-social challenges of prolonged space flight can be eliminated with this system. On a Mars mission, it is typically assumed that a small crew will be confined to a very small space for an extended period of time. The crew is under a lot of stress, a long way from home, and has no way to abort if there is a problem. This environment creates a lot of requirements and constraints pertaining to crew selection, increases the burden on the medical teams to monitor mental well-being, and consequently adds uncertainty to the mission. A lot of these issues are solved if the crew is asleep during peak periods of stress and likely boredom. Ultimately, we think it will be the preferred way to travel! We are eliminating the most mundane portion of the mission. Just imagine going to sleep and waking up on Mars 6 months later, no worse for the wear!

Absolutely not! While it has certainly been inspired by sci-fi, we are taking a much more practical approach. We have volumes of medical research and case studies involving humans that gives credence to and bolsters our claims that this approach is achievable. We are adapting and extending ongoing efforts in medical practice and science.

Good question! No – only various aspects of the approach have been performed here on Earth. Scientists are actively looking at inducing hibernation states in non-hibernating animals. Both the Department of Defense (DOD) and National Institute of Health (NIH) have sponsored work aimed at putting humans in a preservation state in order to extend the time period under which critical care could be administered.

Yes. Both the use of Therapeutic Hypothermia (TH) and Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN) used in our approach are proven medically. For example, people are routinely fed using TPN for durations lasting over a year here on Earth. So we know that solution works well and is understood. We have a small set of data for people undergoing hypothermia therapy for periods of up to 14-days. We have considerably more data for people undergoing TH for shorter periods of 2 to 4 days. We also have instances of individuals undergoing multiple/repeated TH cycles. In all these cases, there have been no reported complications with the patients associated with the TH.

We expect to have a baseline approach from a medical standpoint of how induced torpor for a space crew can be achieved. We hope to have some solid data that our system can significantly impact the design of the Mars architecture. We believe we can show benefits that can be applied to the near-term feasibility of going to Mars, possibly with this technology being the key enabler. We also think we can show benefits for exploration in the longer term, so this is not a capability that would be phased out after a few initial missions.

Medically, the alternate uses of therapeutic hypothermia and sustaining a reduced metabolic condition are still being determined. Research has shown some benefits such as significantly reducing the growth rate of tumors (growth currently resumes upon rewarming) and lowering internal cranial pressure (ICP).

The U.S. military is already very interested in the ability to slow down human metabolism in order to increase the time available to provide critically wounded soldiers with proper care. Our proposed approach is obviously synergistic with those goals.

Similar to the military’s goal, this capability could be used on non-Torpor Mars missions in the event of a serious injury. After putting the injured crewmember in stasis, the rest of the crew would have more time to communicate with doctors on Earth to evaluate the situation and recommend the best solution. This is especially important given the signal time delay between Earth and Mars that can range from 4 to 21 minutes.

You can view the 2016 NIAC Symposium Briefing here:
http://spaceworkseng.com/advancing-torpor-inducing-transfer-habitats-for-human-stasis-to-mars/

You can view an overview briefing on the project here:
http: www.sei.aero/eng/papers/uploads/archive/NIAC-Torpor-Habitat-for-Human-Stasis-2-28-2014.pdf

You can get periodic updates via the Space Torpor blog at:
http://spacetorpor.blogspot.com

You can also get more information from the NASA NIAC project page at:
http://www.nasa.gov/content/torpor-inducing-transfer-habitat-for-human-stasis-to-mars

Questions on the Concept and Motivation

SpaceWorks has evaluated a number of Mars mission architectures over the years, from both a performance and cost perspective. Mars exploration is a tough problem that will require a lot of technology development work to get to a feasible system in the foreseeable future. Traditionally, the technology focus is on the propulsion system, as there are a lot of gains to be made there. However, propulsion technology tends to be a very expensive investment area. We wanted to focus on a different aspect of the mission that may be equally advantageous and could be synergistic with any advances in propulsion capability. This naturally led to a focus on the crew and associated systems, with a goal of trying to reduce their ‘footprint,’ or mass contribution to the system.

In short, we are studying the feasibility of putting a Mars-bound crew in a deep-sleep stasis during the 6 to 9-month transfer periods between the Earth and Mars. Currently, we are not performing any actual experiments or clinical trials. Our medical team is examining the existing body of data and case studies for the application of Therapeutic Hypothermia (TH), also known as Targeted Temperature Management (TTM) as our starting point. Building on this medical practice, we are developing the capability to enable prolonged human stasis and metabolic suppression. During the initial 9-month Phase I study funded by the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program under the Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD), we focused on addressing the question of feasibility, evaluating engineering solutions, and exploring the implications for human exploration of Mars. For the Phase II effort under NASA NIAC, we have expanded our medical team and will address a number of questions regarding the medical aspects of this technology. We will also conduct detailed engineering analysis on the habitat design and evaluate the technology’s impact and ability to support future manned missions to the moons of Mars, the asteroid belt, and Jupiter/Saturn systems.

With the crew in a torpor state, we believe we can significantly reduce the mass and volume of the in-space habitat during the outbound and return segments of the mission. This ultimately reduces the entire launch mass for the system. The habitat itself will be a very small module, nominally containing 4 to 6 crew members each in their own sleep chamber. By contrast, a typical habitat for an active crew is required to have space for food preparation/eating, exercise, science stations, bathrooms, sleeping quarters, entertainment, etc.

Many of the psychological-social challenges of prolonged space flight can be eliminated with this system. On a Mars mission, it is typically assumed that a small crew will be confined to a very small space for an extended period of time. The crew is under a lot of stress, a long way from home, and has no way to abort if there is a problem. This environment creates a lot of requirements and constraints pertaining to crew selection, increases the burden on the medical teams to monitor mental well-being, and consequently adds uncertainty to the mission. A lot of these issues are solved if the crew is asleep during peak periods of stress and likely boredom. Ultimately, we think it will be the preferred way to travel! We are eliminating the most mundane portion of the mission. Just imagine going to sleep and waking up on Mars 6 months later, no worse for the wear!

Absolutely not! While it has certainly been inspired by sci-fi, we are taking a much more practical approach. We have volumes of medical research and case studies involving humans that gives credence to and bolsters our claims that this approach is achievable. We are adapting and extending ongoing efforts in medical practice and science.

Good question! No – only various aspects of the approach have been performed here on Earth. Scientists are actively looking at inducing hibernation states in non-hibernating animals. Both the Department of Defense (DOD) and National Institute of Health (NIH) have sponsored work aimed at putting humans in a preservation state in order to extend the time period under which critical care could be administered.

Yes. Both the use of Therapeutic Hypothermia (TH) and Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN) used in our approach are proven medically. For example, people are routinely fed using TPN for durations lasting over a year here on Earth. So we know that solution works well and is understood. We have a small set of data for people undergoing hypothermia therapy for periods of up to 14-days. We have considerably more data for people undergoing TH for shorter periods of 2 to 4 days. We also have instances of individuals undergoing multiple/repeated TH cycles. In all these cases, there have been no reported complications with the patients associated with the TH.

We expect to have a baseline approach from a medical standpoint of how induced torpor for a space crew can be achieved. We hope to have some solid data that our system can significantly impact the design of the Mars architecture. We believe we can show benefits that can be applied to the near-term feasibility of going to Mars, possibly with this technology being the key enabler. We also think we can show benefits for exploration in the longer term, so this is not a capability that would be phased out after a few initial missions.

Medically, the alternate uses of therapeutic hypothermia and sustaining a reduced metabolic condition are still being determined. Research has shown some benefits such as significantly reducing the growth rate of tumors (growth currently resumes upon rewarming) and lowering internal cranial pressure (ICP).

The U.S. military is already very interested in the ability to slow down human metabolism in order to increase the time available to provide critically wounded soldiers with proper care. Our proposed approach is obviously synergistic with those goals.

Similar to the military’s goal, this capability could be used on non-Torpor Mars missions in the event of a serious injury. After putting the injured crewmember in stasis, the rest of the crew would have more time to communicate with doctors on Earth to evaluate the situation and recommend the best solution. This is especially important given the signal time delay between Earth and Mars that can range from 4 to 21 minutes.

You can view the 2016 NIAC Symposium Briefing here:
http://spaceworkseng.com/advancing-torpor-inducing-transfer-habitats-for-human-stasis-to-mars/

You can view an overview briefing on the project here:
http: www.sei.aero/eng/papers/uploads/archive/NIAC-Torpor-Habitat-for-Human-Stasis-2-28-2014.pdf

You can get periodic updates via the Space Torpor blog at:
http://spacetorpor.blogspot.com

You can also get more information from the NASA NIAC project page at:
http://www.nasa.gov/content/torpor-inducing-transfer-habitat-for-human-stasis-to-mars

 

Please submit any additional questions to: spacetorpor@sei.aero

Thank you!