Can Bears Help Us Achieve Hibernation in Space?

deep Space exploration will be here someday…

Since the dawn of the science fiction genre, both in the written word and in film and television, it has been dream for humans all over the world to travel the corridors of space. Science fiction movies such as Pitch Black, Pandorum, Alien, and others feature sleep hibernation in space to accommodate the human body’s survival for long periods in space.
Yet so far, there seem to be more problems than solutions in getting to the point where deep space travel is possible, let alone in trying to figure how to maintain the human body in optimal condition in a near zero-gravity environment.

Problems with hibernation in space

A problematic issue with long-term hibernation in space, or anywhere for that matter, is the matter of the loss of bone density in space. Of course, space is bound to bring changes to the body and result in some loss of body mass and other changes. However, changes in bone structure are what stand out the most because they affect your bone strength ability to move.
One other important thing is that the bone is constantly repairing itself and needs protein and calcium to strengthen the collagen it uses to bind the skeletal structure together. While it is more complex than that, the basic idea is such. So, while on Earth, there is much less noticeable bone loss (there still is some due to aging) because the bone heals as much as it breaks down, but this process changes as is exposed to life in space for a long time.

Now how do the bears figure in?

The research came earlier in the year, and was released in the Journal of Experimental Biology. It was dealing with this idea of bone mass regeneration and such seen in bears during hibernation. What researchers found was that while lack of physical activity result in mammals result in loss in bone mass, black bears can be in hibernation for up to six months and not lose one ounce. Zilch.
So what’s the trick? Well, in monitoring the bears, researcher found the hormone CART, which aids in regulating food intake, was present at a concentration fifteen times higher during hibernation. This hormone being present in such high quantities would reduce the amount of bone minerals being broken down, and lessen the amount of time bone regeneration takes. Bears are sort of tricked into thinking they are
The newly discovered biological trick that bears have developed for hibernation may aid in helping to put astronauts into space without worry of losing almost any bone mass, but it may also be used for other things such as helping to treat or cure osteoporosis. More studies have to be made on this phenomenon before testing or even serious considerations are done. So keep an eye on the look for latest news on this weird research, and let us know if you think humans will one day find a method for bearlike hibernation by commenting below.


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