Scientists are Able to Trigger a Hibernation Like State in Rats

Researchers have been able to trigger a hibernation like state in rats. If this is done for humans then it would be useful as a tool for more efficient space travel and as a tool for doctors.

Hibernating mammals actively lower their body temperature to reduce energy expenditure when facing food scarcity. This ability to induce a hypometabolic state has many potential medical benefits.

A hypothalamic neuronal circuit in rodents induces a long-lasting hypothermic and hypometabolic state similar to hibernation. In this state, although body temperature and levels of oxygen consumption are kept very low, the ability to regulate metabolism still remains functional, as in hibernation. There was no obvious damage to tissues and organs or abnormalities in behavior after recovery from this state.

Two research groups had markers in the brains of rats which they used to identify the neurons that triggered topor. They then just activated those neurons to turn on the topor state.

Topor is a weaker version of suspended animation. However it is twice as efficient as sleeping or resting.

The Topor state can reduce the crew consumables by about half and the ship could 40-70% smaller. A research group studied Topor for NASA.

With enough compaction of the crew space capsule it could be possible to go to Mars in a non-Holmann transfer orbit.