In a not-so-distant future, around 2300, mankind finally find a way to keep the body intact over hundred of years, allowing a limited number of humans to travel over hundreds of years in order to join close galaxies (no there is not "warp" or faster travel technology, so I expect people to live, reproduce, but also sleep a long time in the spacecraft).

I wand to find ways of keeping the human body and mind in stasis. Cryogenic sleep is a well-known way of allowing characters to do deep-space exploration, but I would like to avoid it, first because I m looking for something else, and also because I consider it lacks a good scientific explanation. One alternative which is being explored now is an hibernation state which would keep the body with essential water, but to me it is very similar so I am looking for something else.

So, would you have alternatives?

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    $\begingroup$ I consider this question to be a duplicate of this one: worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/62087/… I realize that the other one is "how does cryogenic sleep work", and this one asks for an alternative, but it asks for an alternative on the presumption that cryo doesn't work, but the other question has a very solid answer how to make it work. $\endgroup$ – SRM Dec 31 '16 at 3:30
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    $\begingroup$ @SRM I disagree with this being a duplicate. While you may think that the presumption that cryo doesn't work is wrong (and you may be right), the answers to that question do not answer this one, as written. $\endgroup$ – kingledion Dec 31 '16 at 3:35
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    $\begingroup$ I really want a "Close because question is based on false assumption" option. It crops up frequently. @kingledion -- if the question gets edited to remove the false assumption and just asks for cryo alternatives, I'd rescind my close vote. $\endgroup$ – SRM Dec 31 '16 at 3:38
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    $\begingroup$ @kingledion There's a difference between a bad question and a flawed question. :-) But this is a discussion that should move to chat or meta if we're going to continue it. $\endgroup$ – SRM Dec 31 '16 at 3:48
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    $\begingroup$ @SRM This isn't a good basis for a flawed assumption argument. cryogenic suspension is a long way from being a practicable and viable technology. I suggest you read Nikolai Amosoff's NOTES FROM THE FUTURE (English transaltion, 1970). Amosoff researched crogenic suspension. The novel sets out all the problems with suspension in detail. More enough to dispel any belief in cryosuspension. The story solves them with a convenient hand-wave. A long time ago? Yes, but little has changed about the technical obstacles. The OP is right. The scientific basis isn't good. $\endgroup$ – a4android Dec 31 '16 at 7:24

According to Ray Kurzweil, our ability to make an exact copy of a human being is likely to mature at the same time or even before our ability to sustain a human body alive for centuries.

You might want to consider transporting digitised copies of the people, and then 3D printing them new bodies at the other end.

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    $\begingroup$ "Um, the 3D printer ran out of material, and I'm missing some... Ah.... Essential parts." $\endgroup$ – Xandar The Zenon Dec 31 '16 at 5:33
  • $\begingroup$ See the Sean Williams and Shane Dix Orphans of Earth trilogy (2002-2004) where exactly this technique is used especially in the first volume Echoes of Earth (2002). $\endgroup$ – a4android Dec 31 '16 at 10:13
  • $\begingroup$ While creative, this approach raises tons of moral / ethical questions that passengers may not be willing to confront. Is it really "them" coming out the other side if they're killed and remade? See the discussion on this question that plays with those ideas a bit. $\endgroup$ – Zxyrra Jan 1 '17 at 2:27

Induced coma with life support

Cryogenic freezing is ideal because it satisfies the following criteria. Answers must try to meet these criteria:

  1. The mind is slowed
  2. Tissue doesn't break down (if you do it right)
  3. Revival leaves the body relatively unaltered
  4. It's automated and low-maintenance

Using modern technology, it may be possible to meet these criteria without freezing the body - or delving into science fiction.

1: Slowing the mind

A medically induced coma and the associated apparatus can keep the mind at a virtual standstill for years. It's relatively safe, can be reversed, and has few if any adverse effects. An added bonus is that unconsciousness is guaranteed; if any problems occur their death will be painless :)

2: Preserving tissue

Life support machines can carry out basic bodily functions; there are also ways to significantly reduce muscle atrophy, although it's difficult to do so. Bacterial and viral diseases can reasonably be combated by antibiotics, as they are in real-life coma patients, further reducing tissue damage.

Finally, aging isn't a problem, because the question describes a species that has already solved this problem. For hundreds of years, anyways.

3: Easy revival

Unlike with trauma-induced comas, medically-induced comas very rarely require significant intervention afterward. Tubes are easy to disconnect, chemical residue dissipates, holes close, and the body gets back on track within days, if not hours.

4: Low maintenance

Some maintenance must be involved no matter what. Freezing requires constant cooling, mind-uploads need a place to happen, and thus induced sleep requires a steady influx of chemicals. However, it's reasonable with today's technology: we do it all the time.

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  • $\begingroup$ Your people will still age and thus die of old age long before they get their. $\endgroup$ – John Jan 1 '17 at 7:09
  • $\begingroup$ @John The second paragraph under point #2 that starts with «Finally, aging isn't a problem, because» may be worth reading. $\endgroup$ – Zxyrra Jan 1 '17 at 8:20
  • $\begingroup$ ah, did not see that. Although I should point out medically induced comas have fewer side effects becasue they never happen for very long, very rarely more than few days. I believe he longest was a few months and it involved brain damage. $\endgroup$ – John Jan 1 '17 at 8:31
  • $\begingroup$ @John If medically induced as opposed to trauma induced (trauma usually accounts for many of the negative effects) and monitored by equipment I'm imagining it would be less of a problem, though it is worth working out the details $\endgroup$ – Zxyrra Jan 1 '17 at 8:37

Some 'possible' solutions for getting humans very far. (Not stasis based)

1.) If they just want to colonize, they can send fertilized ova (which is easier to preserve intact) and maturate it in the last years before arrival. This, of course, would require caretaker and repairer robots.

2.) If they have the sightly handwavium ability to upload mind, they can send cells to clone them into the copy of the person, and then 'inprint' it with the digitaly stored brain information. Like in the answer of Jnani Jenny Hale

3.) If they have the 'uploading', they may can send only the computer running the program, without physical body.

4.) Further developing 2.) and 3.), if they already have installations on the other side, they can radio the required information to manufacture a copy, thus transfering personel at lightspeed.

5.) They may genetically engineer species into 'ideal deep space travellers' with slow metabolism, long, periodic hibernations, extreme acceleration and radiation tolerance etc...

6.) They may send O'Neill cylinder habitats, or other self sustaining, huge generation ships.

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Assuming you can do it... You might do it cuz you don't want to spend a few hundred years on a ship with limited resources to do other than basic survival. Likewise, you might due it to conserve resources, but if that's the issue there are better ways of doing that.

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