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7 May - "You have to be cool to go to Mars", Lecture by Steven John Swoap, Williams College, USA

The visit of Steven John Swoap is organised in collaboration with Alessandro Silvani from the Department of Biomedical and Neuromotor Sciences.

May 07, 2019 from 05:30 PM to 07:30 PM

Where Sala Rossa, Palazzo Marchesini, via Marsala 26, Bologna (first floor)

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Many challenges face us as we consider sending astronauts to Mars. How do we carry enough food and water for the 4-year trip? How do we protect from radiation? How do we deal with the social isolation and psychological impacts of limited human contact in a small space? There may be a single answer to solve several problems of long-term space flight --- deep torpor. Science fiction writers have had this figured out for decades. But how do we put into practice a real hypometabolic state in humans? Mother Nature has solved this several times over in animals that hibernate for an oncoming winter, in animals that utilized torpor during the fire season, in animals that estivate, and in animals that enter a dauer (enduring) state during development. How about humans – can humans hibernate? Lots of anecdotal evidence suggests that human babies, toddlers, and in a few cases, adults, can enter a torpor-like state, withstanding hours and even days of severe hypothermia. This seminar will examine current strategies utilized throughout the animal kingdom, and their application to human hypometabolism for long-term space flight.