The thinking goes, if animals can hibernate, humans should be able to and hence we can avoid death and move towards immortality. Frank Swain reports on scientists’ progress in the hunt for human hibernation for BBC Future:
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…Suspended animation, the ability to set a person’s biological processes on hold, has long been a staple of science fiction. Interest in the field blossomed in the 1950s as a direct consequence of the space race. Nasa poured money into biological research to see if humans might be placed in a state of artificial preservation. In this state, it was hoped, astronauts could be protected from the dangerous cosmic rays zapping through space. Sleeping your way to the stars also meant carrying far less food, water and oxygen, making the ultimate long-haul flight more practical.
One recipient of that funding was a young James Lovelock. The scientist would dunk hamsters into ice baths until their bodies froze.