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Boffins Close to Creating Suspended Animation

We've certainly seen our share of suspended animation scenes in sci-fi movies throughout the years, ranging from the Alien franchise to Stanley Kubrick's awesome theatrical rendition of Arthur C. Clark's 2001: A Space Odyssey. Not only is suspended animation a good way to skip from one point in a story to another, but in a real-life scenario, it would keep you from going absolutely nuts on long treks across space (without a Warp or Black Hole drive, that is).

But suspended animation may not be mere fiction in the coming years. According to TechEye, hydrogen sulphide is deadly in large doses, however researchers have discovered that--when applying the gas in small amounts--animals will appear dead for a while, and then wake up physically unharmed.

Along with his team at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Biochemist Mark Roth discovered that hydrogen sulphide actually bonds at spots within animals that are usually occupied by oxygen. Using a mouse, he determined that suspended animation-- or rather a forced hibernation--doesn't require the fictional ice chambers, but rather any room with normal, every day temperatures.

In space exploration, suspended animation would be ideal for long hauls across the dark empty void, alleviating the mental stress of claustrophobic conditions, the alienation of family and friends, and the sheer boredom of a 6-month journey (or longer). For patients suffering serious injuries, this may bid them extra time for technical advancements.

Roth said that he has not tested the gas on humans.