NCA Press Release: 6 . 22 . 97
Hibernation To Be Used
Aboard The USS Discovery:
The mission of the U.S.S. Discovery, set now tentatively to begin in December of 2000, will in addition to the utilization of our HAL9000 computer system, employ the latest technological advancements of our times.
In a technique pioneered by Dr. Monde Clifforde, a number of yet to be determined astronauts will be placed in suspended animation for the lengthy voyage. Due to the unprecedented length of this mission, projected at 38 months, the majority of the astronauts will undergo the procedure to conserve the limited amounts of food and oxygen need for so long a voyage.
Now recognized as the realization of a long-standing dream of science fiction writers, Dr. Clifforde 's research team has been nominated for various awards for their revolutionary break-through. Preliminary trials in the early part of the decade and limited human trials have proven the safety of the Clifforde Hibernation Process.
The hibernation subject is infused with pentobarbitone and blood is slowly chilled to 3 degrees centigrade through a heat exchange similar to the kind of oxygen exchangers used in heart by-pass, while life signs are closely monitored. This part of the procedure is in itself similar to the heart stopping process used in surgeries on the brain where circulation must be suspended to arteries to remove aneurysms.
Only in the hibernation process the circulation is not completely suspended, but slowed to a very low rate. Freezing of the blood is prevented with the infusion of a compound trademarked Cryoflon, that acts as a hemoglobin additive to the super-cooled blood and is based in in palladium among other ingredients and is filtered out of the blood stream harmlessly during the revival process. Cryoflon alters the partial pressures of the gas in the blood but tricks the brain's chemoceptors into thinking that the gas balance is normal. The net result is that metabolism is slowed to a mere ticking over, yet the processes do not stop all together.
Cryoflon contains a low concentration of Glutamax in it for nutritional purposes, and some isotonic salts so that the hibernating patient does not require a large volume of water for metabolism purposes and only eliminates a very small quantity of of urine, about 5 liters per year for the average 160 pound adult male. Cryoflon also contains a trace quantity of arachidonylethanolamide to maintain the anesthesia. Pentobarbitone administered over that period of time would leave the patient hopelessly addicted. Despite its long, tongue twisting name, Dr. Clifforde tells us that without this revolutionary anesthetic, the process would not have been possible.
It is yet fully unknown the maximum length of time that a patient can indefinitely remain in hibernation safely. Test animals, primarily rhesus monkeys, have been successfully revived after 5 years of the preliminary testing period. Others continue to slumber on, several to be revived at regular intervals to check for any signs of physical deterioration.
So far, Dr. Clifforde informs us that all of the test subjects have passed with remarkably astonishing clean bills of health.The revival process is surprisingly simple, basically a reversal and blood filtration process that requires about a week to complete. Though the patient revived is physically weak to a certain extent, the hibernation suit that each patient wears during their long slumber contains thousands of electro- stimulators that stimulate muscle tone so that the wasting of muscle tissue common in long inactive, bed-ridden patients does not occur.
The on board HAL9000 computer will be employed to watch over and monitor the status of the hibernating astronauts during the majority of the voyage. The hibernating astronauts will be revived upon reaching Jupiter's orbit to conduct the Discovery's mission, then reenter hibernation for the long voyage home. Only two crew members are scheduled to be excluded from the hibernation process during the voyage; the pilot and co-pilot, who will monitor on-board systems and provide back-up to any emergencies that may arise. Though the on board HAL computer could conceivably conduct the entire mission objectives, as well as the revival process unassisted, in the interest of caution, the two astronauts will provide an extra measure of safety.
Regards to Dr. Nigel C. Eastmond, designer or the HAL Interface Emulation System for Macintosh and Windows computer systems for his interview with Dr. Clifforde.
National Council on Astronautics Chairman Dr. Heywood Floyd will announce the final crew roster this July 20, 1997 in a gala public ceremony at the Johnson Manned Space Flight Center in Houston, Texas. The date coincides with the 28th anniversary of the first lunar landing by American Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, who may attend. A press conference for the Discovery astronauts to meet with reporters and the public will follow.
In attendance are scheduled to be the President, Heads of State for various contributing countries in the European Space Agency, as well as past alumni astronauts for all previous manned space flight missions. A keynote address will be given by renowned writer Arthur C. Clarke live via satellite from Sri Lanka.
Persons interested in attending are asked to contact the NCA Headquarters in Washington only, as the Johnson Space Center is not accepting calls concerning this event. Please refrain from calling, as they will not be able to assist you.
Information may also be obtained at the NCA Web site and here at the HAL Corporation Site.
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