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Genesis Wednesday

Posted by James Dubois in CHOIRS, Tech.
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The problem is twofold: one, my bones de-ossify faster than normal folks. The other problem is that in a long-term transport, the passengers will be in cryonics for the duration of the trip (this reduces a lot of headaches that can arise when shipping humans). Dr. Flores has a background in nano-medicine and pharmacological chemistry and was on the team that perfected the hyper-branched polymers that are pumped into trauma victims instead of blood. Same thing will happen to us travelers, minus the trauma. The blood doesn’t form crystals so we don’t suffer irreparable damage upon the onset of acute hypothermia (i.e.: meat popsicle).

But it’s one thing to put someone under and wake them up. I mean, they were doing that to dogs years ago and people not too long after. The time you’re under is of huge importance! The issue is that your muscles atrophy while asleep. Your arms. Yours legs. Your heart tissue. And because you’re in a zero-gravity situation, you have no weight and your bones lose density. There’s the rub. Not only will my body be incapable of handling those stresses, but it’s possible that the other people on the boat will suffer a similar array of medical problems.

Now, Qiong is the transport guru. She’s lead designer and her system is very basic and structured, calling for a long period of inactivity. Each transport module will be shot off in groups of three and the plan is to have twelve such launches between Phases I and III. Total individuals on CHOIRS at Phase III will be ~9,000 adults. But her system is going to make recovery risky — that first wave of 750 is going to have problems we don’t even know about. So what to do? That’s when I came up with the “gravity lung.”

Essentially, it’s an artificial gravity simulator… almost like a centrifuge. A housing that generates near-Earth gravity for the occupant of what we’re called the “Ripley Pods.” The pods keep the passenger in cryonic stasis and the gravity lung supplies enough force to prevent certain kinds of space diseases. An onboard crew (working in shifts) will be awake and aware. This caretaker unit will administer medical attention to the passengers and live and work on the transport in zero-gees (much like the old ISS, except this is a shuttle and not an orbital station). According to a schedule Dr. Flores is working out, passengers will spend parts of the journey awake and part asleep (several month cycles). Total time will come to about a year and a half wakey-wakey and about five asleep. And even though there will be some issues with gravity while awake, it’s possible to exercise and stave off the effects of a no-grav environment.

So we hash this out, literally, in a night. Just cloud-bursting ideas on a white board.

Then we talk it over with various people from medical, engineering, transport and even the shrinks — they all agree it could work. And it could keep yours truly alive and well long enough to see CHOIRS spin up. Then, we can dock our transports and like the animals walking off the ark two-by-two, begin a new life.

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