What happens if there is a catastrophic failure – meteor impact, failure in the system?

We think a catastrophic system failure is unlikely since we have a number of redundant systems. The torpor-specific hardware consists of fairly simple systems and would all fail benignly. For example, a failure with the thermal control cooling system would merely cause the crew to awake from stasis due to the warming. In the event of a shut down with the TPN distribution system, the crew member(s) would be awoken to correct it. They could actually survive for 3-4 days without hydration or TPN injection, so plenty of time to correct any issue and/or awaken crew.

The non-torpor hardware (e.g. ECLSS, power, etc.) is identical to NASA’s planned system designs and have their own margins and redundancies.

For a major external event like a meteor impact, we are considering emergency-wake procedures for the crew. The best rewarming process for TH patients is an ongoing area of research. Generally, a slower process that is on the order of a few hours is preferred. But, this dataset is based on patients that have experienced some traumatic injury. A combination of approaches like cessation of the cooling, active warming, and injection of adenosine, for example, could permit acceleration of this process.

Alternatively, we have evaluated an operational protocol that would have at least one crew member awake at all times. The remaining crew members would be on 14-day torpor cycles. For this case, the impact to our baseline habitat mass is minimal to support this approach.