DARPA project seeks immortality, suspended animation
Shot? Blown up? Chill out until you reach hospital
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is offering money to researchers looking at identifying and controlling timing mechanisms in cells, including those of the human body.
The blue sky gazing loon-collective notes that no single "master switch" has been found to control genes' activities.
But it hopes that the "Biochronicity" programme will find a way to understand and predict "temporal features of biological systems".
The four-year programme will start by identifying "episequences and validation in experimental biological systems".
After two years, DARPA hopes to move to Phase II, which aims to conduct Live Fire Tests.
Should the research prove practicable, it could be used to put injured soldiers into effective suspended animation until medical care is available:
These fundamental advancements in the understanding of timing in biology can be translated into major breakthroughs in trauma care on the battlefield by accessing the mechanisms that control biological time to improve patient outcomes, for example, by lengthening the window of opportunity for medical and treatment interventions.
It could also make it possible to put astronauts into hibernation before firing them at Mars or other planets, or even - perhaps - to offer hugely extended human lifespan:
Additionally, a greater understanding of molecular oscillators and the evolution of biological clocks will lead to fundamental advancements in developmental science, drug development, aging, and cell death.
Full details are available in pdf here. ®
Gotta love DARPA
If anyone's going to get us our flying-car, pill food, MrFusion, warp drive and everlasting life sci-fi future it's these guys. You go, blue-sky gazing loon collective!
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"If humanity manages to extend its lifespan, we will soon run out of place on earth. "
History shows us that longer lifespan correlates strongly with decreased birth rate; in fact, many Western societies actually have *negative* population growth, with the rest made up by immigration. There is no reason to assume that with radically extended lifespans, this trend won't continue.
And indeed radically extended lifespan does not necessarily equate with radically extended fertility. Women are born with a finite number of eggs, after all; it would be a bit odd to assume that a woman with an indefinite lifespan will keep having more and more and more and more and more children.
First DARPA wants ideas for starships. Now it wants folks to work on suspended animation among other things. Do they know something we don't? I really need to buy a telescope.