The TITANIUM IMPLANT has OXYGEN as the partner to make the ALLOY because OXYGEN is needed for interaction with CIS configurated DNA used for artificially manipulated creation of MICROCHONDRIAL ATP.
We like this definition of MUTILATION because it identifies LEGAL PRECEDENCE surrounding the 5Ws of why this is MUTILATION. Below I show one defining factor -----LOSS OF USE OF ANY 'LIMBS' which may be useful to him in FIGHT-----that loss amounts to MAYHEM.
ATP is the energy source for ALL our human body functions.
'MUTILATION, crim. law.
The depriving a man of the use of any of those limbs, which may be useful to him in fight, the loss of which amounts to mayhem.
1 Bl. Com. 130.
A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856'.
HOSTING SERVER NOSY NEIGHBORS AS BARBER SURGEONS are doing just this. They are first, denaturing our natural order of DNA----they are denaturing our natural order of PROTEINS---and they are denaturing VITAL biochemical pathways in this to ALL OUR BODY ENERGY PRODUCTION and bypassing that energy creation to fueling BRAIN/BODY IMPLANTS.
Now that the electrons have been used to push protons out into the intermembrane space, an electrochemical gradient has been established. There is a higher positive charge on the outside of the mitochondria than there is on the inside. This gradient will be the final catalyst that allows for usable energy generation through oxidative phosphorylation.
The final protein complex involved in oxidative phosphorylation is ATP synthase, which is essentially a motor or factory that creates ATP, the basic unit of energy for all metabolic processes and chemical pathways – the fuel for our cellular survival'.
The loss of OXYGEN OR THE LOSS OF APT production takes lots of energy away-----people tired---fatigued----and normal body activities are disrupted.
'Coated carbon nanotubes act as solar cells'.
This will be the latest EXPERIMENTAL IMPLANT DEVICE installed as any one of BRAIN/BODY IMPLANTS. HOSTING SERVER BARBER SURGEONS say over and again---this is only about treating DISEASE VECTORS---yet, global banking MARKET is selling GOOGLE LENS----and RETINAL IMPLANTS as a COOL WAY TO BE BIONIC. The goals are not HELPING ---they are WAYS TOWARDS CORPORATE PROFIT.
'The most sophisticated “bionic eye” available today is the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System developed by California-based Second Sight'.
FEEDBACK on THE NETWORK says EVERY MAN STANDING NEAR ME will be receiving PORN via these RETINAL IMPLANTS--------our US 99% of men saying -----SEND ME THAT PORN as they lose their sight in only 20 years with these implants.
Artificial Retina Implants: Seeing Is Believing
Posted By: admin
on: July 15, 2019
In: Things are really looking up for people who suffer from vision loss.
Scientists from Sweden and Israel teamed up to develop the thinnest retinal implant in the world. The wireless device is layered with gold and organic tattoo ink. The replacement retina contains no silicone and is a remarkable 500 times less thick than any other retinal implant on the market today.
This is great news for the 39 million blind people alive today plus the additional 245 million people with moderate to extreme vision impairments.
Malfunctioning photoreceptors – the layer of rods and cones inside the eyeball – are at the root of most cases of blindness and vision loss:
“The retina is a thin membrane on the back of the eye that converts incoming light into electrical signals that are then processed by the brain. The retina is only half a millimeter thick but contains three distinct cellular layers. The bottom layer, farthest from the light source, holds the rods and cones, also known as photoreceptor cells. It’s the photoreceptor layer that’s compromised in people with retinal diseases.”
The artificial retina may be an effective treatment in humans for retinitis pigmentosa or macular degeneration as well as to repair traumatic injuries.
In macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa, the slow atrophy and ultimate failure of the body’s natural rods and cones in the retina causes vision loss.
Glial cells in the top layer of the retina receive electrical impulses from the photoreceptors and transmit them through the optic nerve for image processing by the brain. In the 1980s, researchers found a way to bypass the rods and cones completely and route electrical signals directly to the glial cells.
The most sophisticated “bionic eye” available today is the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System developed by California-based Second Sight.
An external video camera mounted on a pair of sunglasses captures images for transmission to a small video-processing unit the patient carries. The images are converted into electrical impulses that are sent wirelessly to an array of electrodes implanted in the back of the eye. The implant broadcasts the electrical signals to the glial cells which relay them to the brain for interpretive processing.
Bionic eyes have several definite shortcomings: they can only be implanted in one eye, patients must wear a power source and processor at all times, and the most successful cases improve visual acuity only to the low level of 20/1200 – normal vision is considered 20/20 – with no ability to recognize color and limited perception.
Two Chinese researchers, Jiayi Zhang and Gengfeng Zheng at Fudan University in Shanghai, invented a new way to bypass the eye’s photoreceptor layer and make a direct connection to the glial cells by means of semiconducting nanowires of titania flecked with gold nanoparticles that model the form and function of natural, healthy photoreceptors.
The team built the device by painting two layers of organic pigment on a base layer of gold. They immersed this superconductor “sandwich” in a saltwater solution similar to the environment inside an eyeball. When exposed to light, the device charges and generates an electric field that stimulates nearby vision neurons.
The Chinese research duo claims that their prosthetic retina does restore full-color vision and needs no external power or processor devices to operate. Because it is made from organic material, the risk of rejection associated with silicone-based implants may be much lower with the new artificial retina.
Zhang and Zheng tested their prosthetic system in cultured neurons and in retinas from chicken embryos before they had developed photoreceptors. The device created enough electricity in both scenarios to power surrounding retinal neurons.
Live rabbits are being used as test subjects now to see if the retinal implant can transmit a response to red light, which rabbits are unable to detect normally.
One final encouraging innovation in the medical field of artificial retinas comes from a New Jersey company called Natcore which is developing a retinal implant that is powered by the sun.
The solar-powered implant doesn’t need a camera, a transmitter, or any other external device in order to function. It can work if the patient’s nerves are alive and only the rods and cones are damaged. The design calls for wavelength selection which could restore the ability to see colors.
This prosthetic consists of a flat round disc, about the size of a pencil eraser, that is surgically implanted. Coated carbon nanotubes act as solar cells. Light entering the eye is focused onto the artificial retina by the lens, causing a voltage buildup which triggers a visual signal transmission to the brain. In this remarkable device, the nanotubes not only generate solar power but they replace the body’s native photoreceptor cells.
This process is deemed social benefit because global banking 1% say they are HELPING PROFOUND VISUALLY IMPAIRED TO SEE. What these devices do is simply provide a network to connect 24/7 streaming VIDEO virtual reality to that person's RETINAL AND OPTIC NERVE to send THOSE IMAGES to the disabled person's brain.
IT IS NOT GIVING NATURAL SIGHT---IT IS BUILDING PLATFORM FOR VIRTUAL REALITY VIDEO STREAMING.
Since this does not give NATURAL SIGHT and since the BRAIN IMPLANT itself will DAMAGE surrounding soft tissue and sensory nerves-----IT IS A MUTILATION -----
The PHOTORECEPTOR CELLS work because of the BODY ENERGY ATP created by OXIDATIVE PHOSPHORYLATION. The ARTIFICIAL PHOTORECEPTOR is replacing natural body functions with a process which DISTORTS normal DNA-----DISTORTS normal ATP processes-----which DISTORTS what that BLIND person is really seeing.
When exposed to light, the device charges and generates an electric field that stimulates nearby vision neurons.
In this remarkable device, the nanotubes not only generate solar power but they replace the body’s native photoreceptor cells.
So, people say---THIS IS JUST ONE IMPLANT or they say a BLIND PERSON may VOLUNTEER to future damage to access VIRTUAL REALITY. Let's look at how all this can be used for BAD MENDACIUM CORPORATION use.
I have an older version of RETINAL IMPLANT which will harm and deteriorate my normal vision. Today, people getting this NEW BRAND will have all that HASTENED----the BAD EFFECTS I will feel will be WORSE for the coming generation.
GLOBAL 1% MENDACIUM CORPORATION wanting to de-populate or CONTROL 99.9% of global people would simply FORCE like me---the installation of these implants.
REMEMBER, these SOLAR ARRAY ENERGY source pathways will be tied to ALL BODY IMPLANTS---tied to ALL BOTS------BOTS are to be placed inside BODY by the billions. These are MITOCHONDRIAL MUTILATIONS-----this is where the KREBS CYCLE creating the majority of ATP takes place.
'bipyridine' is a DNA protein seen below being altered from TRANS configuration to CIS configuration.
'is not yet sufficiently understood'.
Here we see why CONGRESSIONAL actions placed a RIDER against MRT------MOVING FORWARD places every human in a position of NOT BEING ABLE TO FIGHT------what will be a KILL BUTTON.
Metal leads to the desired configuration
October 9, 2018
University of Basel
Scientists have found a way to change the spatial arrangement of bipyridine molecules on a surface. These potential components of dye-sensitized solar cells form complexes with metals and thereby alter their chemical conformation.
Scientists at the University of Basel have found a way to change the spatial arrangement of bipyridine molecules on a surface. These potential components of dye-sensitized solar cells form complexes with metals and thereby alter their chemical conformation. The results of this interdisciplinary collaboration between chemists and physicists from Basel were recently published in the scientific journal ACS Omega.
Dye-sensitized solar cells have been considered a sustainable alternative to conventional solar cells for many years, even if their energy yield is not yet fully satisfactory. The efficiency can be increased with the use of tandem solar cells, where the dye-sensitized solar cells are stacked on top of each other.
The way in which the dye, which absorbs sunlight, is anchored to the semiconductor plays a crucial role in the effectiveness of these solar cells. However, the anchoring of the dyes on nickel oxide surfaces -- which are particularly suitable for tandem dye-sensitized cells -- is not yet sufficiently understood.
Binding on surfaces
Over the course of an interdisciplinary collaboration, scientists from the Swiss Nanoscience Institute and the Departments of Physics and Chemistry at the University of Basel investigated how single bipyridine molecules bind to nickel oxide and gold surfaces.
Bipyridine crystals served as an anchor molecule for dye-sensitized cells on a semiconductor surface. This anchor binds the metal complexes, which in turn can then be used to bind the various dyes.
With the aid of scanning probe microscopes, the investigation determined that initially the bipyridine molecules bind flat to the surface in their trans configuration.
The addition of iron atoms and an increase in temperature cause a rotation around a carbon atom in the bipyridine molecule and thus leads to the formation of the cis configuration.
"The chemical composition of the cis and trans configuration is the same, but their spatial arrangement is very different. "The change in configuration can be clearly distinguished on the basis of scanning probe microscope measurements," confirms experimental physicist Professor Ernst Meyer.
Metal complexes in a modified configuration
This change in spatial arrangement is the result of formation of a metal complex, as confirmed by the scientists through their examination of the bipyridine on a gold surface.
During the preparation of the dye-sensitized solar cells, these reactions take place in a solution. However, the examination of individual molecules and their behavior is only possible with the use of scanning probe microscopes in vacuum.
"This study allowed us to observe for the first time how molecules that are firmly bound to a surface change their configuration," summarizes Meyer. "This enables us to better understand how anchor molecules behave on nickel oxide surfaces."
The second point about this one RETINAL IMPLANT MRT procedure is this: the DISEASE VECTORS targeted for 'successful' prognosis are all MARGINAL ----SMALL NUMBERS OF PEOPLE-----have these EYE DISORDERS.
There is no BASIC SCIENCE saying this will happen---there is GREAT history of IMPLANT DAMAGE that BARBER SURGEONS KNOW will happen-----and the real reasons for doing these research on MRT is tied to deBOER global mining corporations wanting SPACE MINING SLAVES.
'Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON) is a mitochondrially inherited (transmitted from mother to offspring) degeneration of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) and their axons that leads to an acute or subacute loss of central vision'
There is nothing more ENSLAVING then having these IMPLANT DEVICES inside your body seeking to KILL ALL KINDS OF NATURAL biological pathways.
So, ENSLAVING is the goal of MOVING FORWARD MITOCHONDRIAL REPLACEMENT TECHNIQUES for our EARTH-BOUND 99% WE THE PEOPLE---while HUMAN HIBERNATION and extremely hostile planetary environmental acclimation creates needs for TRANSHUMANISM-----
THAT IS THE ONLY DRIVER IN THESE CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY.
In Northern European populations about one in 9000 people carry one of the three primary LHON mutations. 
There is a prevalence of between 1:30,000 to 1:50,000 in Europe'.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Diabetes insipidus-diabetes mellitus-optic atrophy-deafness syndrome
Photographic image of the patient right eye showing optic atrophy without diabetic retinopathy; from Manaviat et al., 2009
Medical genetics, neurology Wolfram syndrome, also called DIDMOAD (diabetes insipidus, diabetes mellitus, optic atrophy, and deafness), is a rare autosomal-recessive genetic disorder that causes childhood-onset diabetes mellitus, optic atrophy, and deafness as well as various other possible disorders.
It was first described in four siblings in 1938 by Dr. Don J. Wolfram, M.D. The disease affects the central nervous system (especially the brainstem)'.
Retinitis pigmentosa, mid stage
KSS results in a pigmentation of the retina, primarily in the posterior fundus. The appearance is described as a "salt-and-pepper" appearance. There is diffuse depigmentation of the retinal pigment epithelium with the greatest effect occurring at the macula. This is in contrast to retinitis pigmentosa where the pigmentation is peripheral. The appearance of the retina in KSS is similar to that seen in myotonic dystrophy type 1 (abbreviated DM1). Modest night-blindness can be seen in patients with KSS. Visual acuity loss is usually mild and only occurs in 40–50% of patients'
Hereditary spastic paraplegiaFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Although HSP is a progressive condition, the prognosis for individuals with HSP varies greatly. It primarily affects the legs although there can be some upperbody involvement in some individuals. Some cases are seriously disabling while others are less disabling and are compatible with a productive and full life. The majority of individuals with HSP have a normal life expectancy.
'A piece of high school genetics, relied on for many sorts of genetic testing, has been found to have exceptions. Although mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is normally received from the mother, three families have been identified where people received some of their mtDNA, three-quarters in the most extreme case, from their father. The finding may change the way we treat mitochondrial diseases and brings genetic testing for maternal ancestry into question.
MtDNA exists separately from the rest of our DNA, inside the thousands of mitochondria within each cell, rather than the cell nucleus. It is so widely accepted as being from the mother's side it is sometimes known as the Eve Gene, the idea being that it can be traced back to some primeval mother of all living humans. Testing of mtDNA is used to identify maternal ancestry'.
Mitochondrial Disease Clinic
Mayo's Mitochondrial Disease Clinic is staffed by a specialized geneticist and genetic counselor care team and coordinated with multiple specialties and genetic laboratories.
Mitochondria are specialized compartments within your body's cells that are responsible for creating most of the body's energy. Mitochondrial disease results from failure of mitochondria to function properly. This can lead to less energy, cell injury and cell death. The most common organs that may experience damage are the brain, heart, liver, muscles, kidneys and the endocrine system.
Mitochondrial diseases present from early childhood to adulthood. Depending on the specific type of mitochondrial disease, common symptoms include muscle weakness, imbalance, gastrointestinal problems, poor growth, liver disease, heart disease, diabetes, visual and hearing issues, lactic acidosis, and developmental delays. Mitochondrial disease may be inherited.
Disorders evaluated in Mayo's Mitochondrial Disease Clinic include, among others:
Alpers progressive sclerosing poliodystrophy (Alpers disease)
Chronic progressive external ophthalmoplegia (CPEO)
Dominant optic atrophy
Hereditary spastic paraplegia
Leber hereditary optic neuropathy
Leigh and Leigh-like syndrome
Mitochondrial encephalopathy, lactic acidosis, and stroke-like episodes (MELAS)
Myoclonic epilepsy with ragged red fibers (MERRF)
Neuropathy, ataxia, and retinitis pigmentosa (NARP)
Patients seen in our Mitochondrial Disease Clinic also have the opportunity to participate in the North American Mitochondrial Disease Consortium.
Why are so many WOMEN being HIT by HOSTING SERVER NOSY NEIGHBORS AND THE GANG?
It is not only THE PORN-----these EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCH are tied to MATERNAL DNA----MICROCHONDRIAL DISORDERS. As we said---the numbers of people actually having these disease vector is minimal.
BEING HIT------and FORCED TO IMPLANTS------is creating HEALTHY PEOPLE BEING MADE SICKO.
'However, MRTs only concern mitochondrial disorders that are maternally inherited'.
REMEMBER, THE UK today is simply a global banking 1% economy ------no connections to human welfare. Hmmmm. global banking 1% goals MOVING FORWARD de-population ---are they really interested in very marginal disease vectors saving CHILDREN? Of course not.
'These possibilities are: naturally conceiving a child with the risk of transmitting the disorder; adopting a child; using egg donation'
'While research on MRTs has been ongoing for more than 10 years in the UK'
'it was rarely specified whether their families were affected by nuclear or mitochondrial mutations and thus whether these techniques were of any practical use to them.
Often, in fact, they were not suitable for MRTs'.
Mitochondrial Replacement Techniques:
Who are the Potential Users and will they Benefit?
First published: 14 December 2016
In February 2015 the UK became the first country to legalise high‐profile mitochondrial replacement techniques (MRTs), which involve the creation of offspring using genetic material from three individuals. The aim of these new cell reconstruction techniques is to prevent the transmission of maternally inherited mitochondrial disorders to biological offspring. During the UK debates, MRTs were often positioned as a straightforward and unique solution for the ‘eradication’ of mitochondrial disorders, enabling hundreds of women to have a healthy, biologically‐related child. However, many questions regarding future applications and potential users remain. Drawing on a current qualitative study on reproductive choices in the context of mitochondrial disorders, this article illustrates how the potential limitations of MRTs have been obscured in public debates by contrasting the claims made about the future beneficiaries with insights from families affected by mitochondrial disorders and medical experts. The analysis illuminates the complex choices with which families and individuals affected by mitochondrial disorders are faced, which have thus far remained invisible. An argument is presented for improved information for the public as well as an intensification of critical empirical research around the complex and specific needs of future beneficiaries of new reproductive biotechnologies.
In February 2015 the UK became the first country to legalise high‐profile mitochondrial replacement techniques (MRTs),1 which aim to prevent the transmission of inherited disorders by creating offspring using genetic material from three individuals. During the UK public and parliamentary debates, MRTs were often positioned as a straightforward and unique solution for the ‘eradication’ of mitochondrial disorders, enabling hundreds of women to have a healthy, biologically‐related child. However, many questions regarding the future applications and potential users remain.
Drawing on a current qualitative study on reproductive choices in the context of mitochondrial disorders, this article discusses the issue of the future beneficiaries of MRTs by contrasting public and media discourses surrounding the techniques with the insights of families directly affected by mitochondrial disorders, as well as medical experts. The article suggests that while the media interest in these techniques and the surrounding debates have certainly increased the visibility of mitochondrial disorders and resulted in public interest in them, the discussions of the technologies were at times sensationalist and misleading with respect to their potential application. These public debates have obscured the potential different limitations of MRTs. Moreover, these discourses represented families affected by mitochondrial disorders in ways that ignored the specific difficulties they face and the complex choices they have to make in order to have a child.
The article begins with an overview of the medical specificities of mitochondrial disorders and their impact in terms of reproductive choices, followed by a brief description of the study on which the article is based. By examining key documents of the UK debates on MRTs and their media coverage, I then highlight the lack of discussion of the potential future users of the techniques and show how families affected by mitochondrial disorders have mainly been described as a homogenous group in need of MRTs to have healthy, biologically related children. In the final section, I attempt to provide a better understanding of the complex choices with which families and individuals affected by mitochondrial disorders are faced, by drawing on empirical data to consider the medical, legal, individual and financial constraints limiting the future potential use of MTRs. I conclude by highlighting the importance of empirical research and improved information for the public, in order to consider the complex and specific needs of future beneficiaries of new reproductive biotechnologies.
Mitochondrial disorders and reproductive choices
MRTs are new cell reconstruction techniques aimed at preventing the transmission of maternally inherited mitochondrial disorders to biological offspring. These rare disorders are caused by dysfunctions of the mitochondria, the organelles situated in the cell cytoplasm which produce the energy for the cell.2 The more faulty mitochondria that are present in the cell, the more likely it is that defects will be created in the cell's energy production. This can cause severe and often life‐threatening diseases (such as dementia, Melas, Pearson syndrome or myopathy), which particularly affect the organs requiring more energy (e.g. brain, liver, muscles and eyes). There is currently no treatment to cure these disorders and the evolution of various symptoms is very uncertain. They usually amplify with time, however, possibly leading to death. While mitochondrial dysfunctions can result from mutations of the mitochondrial DNA, which is maternally inherited, it is important to keep in mind that many mitochondrial disorders are caused by nuclear DNA. Mitochondria's functioning is indeed governed both by the 37 mitochondrial genes and by hundreds of genes from the nucleus.3
Mitochondrial disorders have an important impact on reproduction, not only because they can affect the pregnancy but also because there is a risk of transmitting the disorders to future offspring. In such cases, reproductive decision‐making is especially complex, as it is difficult to predict if a future child will develop disorders, the stage of life at which they will occur, and the extent of the symptoms. There are currently several possibilities for women at risk of transmitting the disorders, some of which are dependent on a genetic diagnosis, the mutation type and their individual mutation load (see below). These possibilities are: naturally conceiving a child with the risk of transmitting the disorder; adopting a child; using egg donation; using prenatal diagnosis (PND); or using preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). Whilst some uncertainty remains with PGD or PND for maternally inherited disorders,4 adoption and egg donation constitute safe options to avoid transmission.
Mitochondrial replacement techniques
To prevent the transmission of mitochondrial disorders to future offspring, two new techniques have been developed over the past 10 years in the US and UK. One of these techniques consists of transferring the nucleus of the affected mother's egg into a healthy enucleated donor egg. In other words, the nucleus of the donor egg is replaced by that of the intending mother. The newly reconstructed egg is then fertilised by the chosen sperm. This technique is called ‘maternal spindle transfer’.5 The transfer of the nucleus can also be done after fertilisation on an early embryo in the case of ‘pronuclear transfer technique’ (PNT). This procedure was initially developed in the UK by a research team at Newcastle University.6
The striking novelty in both cases is that the conceived child will inherit DNA from three individuals, not only the nuclear genome (which is thought to determine all unique individual characteristics and traits) from both intending parents, but also, albeit to a much lesser extent, the mitochondrial DNA from the egg donor (37 genes). Moreover, this donated mitochondrial DNA will be transmitted over the generations, through the maternal line.
Research Aims and Methods
The aim of the research on which this article is based is to gain a better understanding of the interactions between scientific progress, policies and people's lives by exploring the issues raised by new MRTs.7 It seeks to understand, in particular, the perceptions and experiences of women whose families are affected by mitochondrial disorders, especially regarding their reproductive options. The study included exploratory interviews with genetic counsellors, clinicians and support group representatives, as well as in‐depth interviews with 28 women affected by mitochondrial disorders8, either because they had the disease (n∼9) or because their children were affected by the disorder (n∼19). These women were recruited between 2014 and 2016 through a major UK support group, two NHS Trusts and snowballing. 14 were interviewed on their own and 14 with their partner or mother.9
The analysis presented in this article is based on data collected in interviews with women affected by mitochondrial disorders pertaining to their specific family context and medical condition,10 as well as from discussions with medical experts.11 It also draws on the analysis of key textual documents (i.e. media releases, public reports, parliamentary documents and informative documentation circulated by various stakeholders during the debate), as well as the observation of numerous public and parliamentary debates surrounding MRTs which took place between 2013 and 2015.
The Potential Beneficiaries and Future Applications of Mrts in Public Debates
While research on MRTs has been ongoing for more than 10 years in the UK, public discussions of the techniques and their related issues only really began after the UK research team announced the first successful application of PNT to a human embryo in 2010.12 This prompted the question of the possible legalisation of the technique for treatment. A licence had been granted in 2005 to the Newcastle research team to experiment with PNT for research, but the technique was still banned for treatment applications in the UK,13 as in most countries, because it involves germline modifications.14
In this context, a number of initiatives were taken by the Government and science‐based organisations in order to assess the safety of MRTs and discuss their ethical issues, including the publication of a report by a specific working group of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics (NCB),15 the launch of a public consultation by the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority (HFEA)16 and the commissioning of a scientific review of the safety and efficacy of MRTs by the HFEA. Several public events were also organised on the topic.17 Besides safety issues, the academic and public discussions surrounding MRTs mainly focused at that stage on four ethical issues:18 the relevance of defining and treating MRTs as germline therapies; the social and psychological impacts of having a genetic connection to three persons; the legal status of the mitochondrial donors; and the possibility of initially treating only male embryos to avoid passing on possible unforeseen side effects (due to the fact that mitochondrial DNA is passed on to the embryo and subsequent generations through the maternal line).
While the abovementioned reports often explained the objective and the functioning of MRTs and briefly described what mitochondrial disorders could be, there were, however, very few details of the potential beneficiaries targeted by MRTs.
These were usually referred to as ‘patients’, ‘women carrying maternal disorders’, ‘women with mitochondrial disorders’ or ‘women who would otherwise pass on mutated mitochondria through their eggs’, but these broad descriptions did not provide a sense of the characteristics and the number of women that could possibly benefit from the techniques. Only approximate epidemiological rates, such as ‘one in 200 babies with mitochondrial disorders born per year in the UK’,19 were regularly mentioned, implying that this would be the number of potential ‘lives’ which could be saved by the techniques. The reports also regularly made reference both to ‘the families affected by mitochondrial disorders’ and to ‘the women who could benefit from the techniques’ without clearly differentiating them, which tended to assimilate these two groups that are in practice very distinct (see below). Moreover, it was difficult to know from the debates and the reports what patients’ views and experiences were in terms of reproductive choices.
The individuals whose families were affected by mitochondrial disorders and who replied to the HFEA consultation or the call for evidence from the NCB seemed very favourably disposed towards these techniques.20 However, their numbers were very low21 and it was difficult to ascertain whether they themselves could use the techniques.
The HFEA public consultation was accompanied by a number of press releases discussing the possible legalisation of MRTs and some of its safety and ethical issues, often persistently highlighting the fact that MRTs would create ‘three‐parent babies’.22 The potential users of the techniques and patients with mitochondrial disorders were rarely mentioned. When this was the case, journalists usually referred to the dramatic case of Sharon Bernadi, a mother who had lost several children to mitochondrial disorders and whose story represented the culmination of desperation and suffering associated with mitochondrial disease.23
Following the HFEA's advice to permit the techniques, a consultation on draft regulations to allow such treatments to be carried out was launched by the Department of Health in March 2014. From that point, discussions of the ethical issues mentioned above diminished considerably. The draft regulations echoed the recommendations provided by the HFEA on the different ethical issues,24 which no longer seemed to be discussed the following year. As the parliamentary debates approached, complex ethical discussions were progressively replaced by sharper confrontations of pro and con arguments, calling upon either strong emotional imaginaries or complicated techno‐scientific arguments.
'On the one hand, the opponents of MRTs argued that the techniques were unsafe and unpredictable'.
For instance, Robert Flello MP explained that ‘based on the available data, […] we cannot rule out the possibility that these techniques could cause the people born as a result to have illnesses or disabilities. The Government have a responsibility, as we all do, to avoid such eventualities, and we cannot take that lightly. We might not know the result for many generations. We might not know whether some damage has been caused until three, four or five generations later. We simply cannot know that’.25
THE STATEMENT ABOVE IS ABSOLUTE LIES-----THE HARM WILL BE SEEN IMMEDIATELY AND IT WILL PERMEATE SOCIETY---THIS IS WHAT EUTHANASIA AND HOSPICE DEATH ROOMS BEING USED TODAY ARE ADDRESSING. THIS IS WHY AFFORDABLE CARE ACT INSTALLED THESE POLICIES.
In particular, there were also very long and controversial discussions about the possible impact of ‘mismatching’ nuclear and mitochondrial DNA and the ‘potentially serious and unpredictable consequences’ this could have on future offspring, after biologist Ted Morrow suggested that ‘more experiments needed to be undertaken on species more closely related to humans to understand these possible damaging effects’.26 Another main argument against MRTs was that they represented a eugenic threat by enabling ‘human genetic modifications’ and a slippery slope that could lead to ‘a designer baby market’.27 For instance, Fiona Bruce MP claimed that ‘this [was] a case of genetic engineering’ and warned that ‘once this alteration has taken place and once the genie is out of the bottle, and once these procedures that we are being asked to authorise today go ahead, there will be no going back for society, and certainly not for the individuals concerned’.28 These claims were often reported in the media in a sensationalist way.29
THIS SOUNDS LIKE 'THERE'S NO STOPPING THIS---WHEN WE ARE GOING TO STOP THIS.
On the other hand, stakeholders in favour of MRTs increasingly focused their argument on the suffering of families and the claim that the techniques would enable them to have healthy biological children and, in the longer term, eradicate the disorders. For instance, Luciana Berger MP, during the debate at the House of Commons, stressed that ‘we have within our reach the possibility of eradicating mitochondrial disease from families who have been blighted by it for generations: families who have endured a disease for which there is no cure, who have suffered daily battles with painfully debilitating symptoms, and who have sadly lost their children prematurely’.30 These arguments were often accompanied by moving and tragic stories of families affected by the disorders, which were provided and put forward by patient associations and parent advocates. For example, Alex Cunningham MP described at length the heart‐breaking case of baby Jessica, who ‘will not live much longer – perhaps only a year or two. She cannot be fed naturally and relies on a feeding tube. Her body will not develop, which means that she will not grow and her internal organs will deteriorate. […] If we are to avoid this horrific suffering in the future, we need the regulations now to make the necessary progress and help ensure that we do not have more babies like Jessica’.31 These stories were also very prevalent in the media, where a number of people whose families were affected by mitochondrial disorders affirmed their support for the legalisation of the techniques.32 However, these descriptions were highlighting the need to prevent mitochondrial disorders, rather than providing information regarding who exactly could use MRTs and under which conditions.
This mobilisation of human suffering towards political projects constituted a good illustration of what Buchbinder and Timmermans have termed ‘affective economies’.33 These authors have highlighted the specific function of ‘affect’, which operates socially by resonating with and reinforcing broadly felt public sentiments and widely accessible emotions such as fear, anxieties and compassion, particularly where children's lives are at stake. As the authors explain, this type of argument is not only efficient but also very difficult to criticise, as it foregrounds ‘morally valued activities’.34 The claim of the suffering of the patients was also constantly articulated in relation to a ‘rhetoric of hope’35 based on the assumption that MRTs would be the technique that would solve patients’ reproductive problems. For example, during the debate at the House of Commons, Paul Burstow MP declared that MRTs are ‘about light at the end of the tunnel for thousands of families in this country. It is about the prospect of life lived, life realised, and about the potential opportunity to live’.36
During the year preceding the parliamentary vote, more details were given regarding the number of women who could potentially use the techniques. The consultation document produced by the Department of Health in February 2014 indicated that MRTs ‘could apply to up to 10 cases per year initially’.37 This information was exaggerated in the press, with some newspapers reporting that ‘100 babies a year in the UK will have three parents’.38 One year later, the research team at Newcastle working on mitochondrial donation provided an estimation of the number of women aged between 15 and 44 who could potentially benefit from the techniques. This was based on an extrapolation of the prevalence of mtDNA mutations in North East England to the UK population and the fertility rate amongst these women. Their conclusion was that MRTs could enable ‘about 150 births a year if all women opted for the procedure’ (emphasis added).39 The following day, BBC News announced that ‘nearly 2,500 women in the UK would benefit from a fertility technique to make babies from three people’.40 During the parliamentary debate, it was also said that ‘there are potential benefits for the about 2,500 families affected by mitochondrial disease up and down this nation’.41
In retrospect, it is striking to observe how the scope and the characteristics of the women targeted by MRTs, when mentioned at all, have remained vague and confusing, both in media coverage and in public and parliamentary discussions. There was a conflation of all families affected by mitochondrial disorders and the women who could use MRTs. Moreover, little information was provided about the medical condition and family situation of the latter and about whether they themselves would be willing to use the techniques. In this respect, the information given to the public did not provide either sufficient information about the application of the techniques or an in‐depth understanding of patients’ views. It was often implied that any women who were affected by mitochondrial disorders, or whose families were, could benefit and would be willing to seek these benefits. This assumption also reinforced the injunctions not only to have a child, but specifically to have a biologically‐related child, by whatever means required.
It is also worth noticing that bioethics and scientific discourses have dominated the debates and there has been a lack of detailed and empirical data from social sciences on these issues. Yet, as I suggest in the following section, the debate would have benefited from this kind of insight and from improved information on the specificities of MRTs.
The Potential Users of Mrts from an Empirical Perspective
As previously discussed, the question of whether MRTs could provide affected women with healthy children was not sufficiently addressed in the debates. In practice, the picture is much more complicated, as will now be illustrated through insights gained from empirical research on reproductive choices in the context of mitochondrial disorders. The following analysis demonstrates that there are various medical, legal, individual and financial constraints, which can limit the use of MRTs in practice.
1 Who will be suitable for MRTs?
There are significant biological and medical limits to the application of MRTs, which are related to the specific type of mutation carried by the individual. As mentioned earlier, mitochondrial disorders can be caused by mutations of the mitochondrial DNA, as well as by mutations of the nuclear DNA, which also controls the functioning of the mitochondria. However, MRTs only concern mitochondrial disorders that are maternally inherited. Although this was not mentioned in the public and parliamentary debates, it is important to highlight that most maternally inherited mitochondrial disorders only develop in adulthood (e.g. Melas or MERRF syndromes), whereas mitochondrial disorders which severely affect babies and children are caused in about 80% of cases by nuclear defects42 which are inherited from both parents. This means that these techniques will not be accessible to most families who have already lost a child from mitochondrial disorders and who wish to have another one. Yet these tend to be the people who make up the membership of support groups such as the Lily Foundation, which was highly involved in the debate to support the legalisation of MRTs.
There is nonetheless a minority of children affected by maternally inherited disorders (e.g. specific types of Leigh's syndrome) whose mothers could benefit from these techniques. But they represent a very small number of cases. Their mothers are usually asymptomatic carriers with no family history of mitochondrial disorders.43 In my study, I interviewed three women in this situation. These women had been tested for mitochondrial mutations and all carried a low mutation load, which made them unlikely to be allowed to use MRTs, as MRTs are only accessible, at least for now, to women with a very high mutation load (see below). They have, however, the option, under certain conditions, to use pre‐implantation genetic diagnostic (PGD) to select an embryo with a low mutation load. In this respect, it is important to add that even if MRTs were made available to these women, it would be unlikely that the mutation could be detected and its transmission prevented in advance before they had a first child affected by the disorder. This means that there will still be a number of children developing mitochondrial disorders in the future, even if MRTs are used on a larger scale.
In light of the considerations above, it appears that only a small proportion of the women whose families are affected by mitochondrial disorder will be suitable for MRTs in practice. From a medical perspective, these will be women who are already diagnosed with maternally inherited mitochondrial disorders or who have had a child or a relative diagnosed with such a disorder, but not most of the families who have had a child affected by the disease.44 The official reports, when they mentioned that mitochondrial disorders could be caused by both types of mutations, failed to mention the proportions or characteristics of the respective groups affected. During the parliamentary debates, it was striking to observe that most MPs did not even seem aware of this crucial distinction between nuclear and mitochondrial mutations. For instance, when Luciana Berger MP, who had hosted a public debate on MRTs the day prior to the vote on the regulations, was asked whether ‘mitochondrial disease from the nuclear DNA will remain in our population even after this treatment is licensed’, she replied: ‘it is not something I have been made aware of, and it certainly has not come up in any of the discussions or debates that I have attended’.45 Given the importance of this distinction in terms of access to MRTs, it is especially surprising and worrying that it was not discussed sufficiently in the parliamentary debates.
Media reports and public debates have also contributed to confusion regarding the identity of the future beneficiaries of the techniques. While moving stories and strong declarations of support from women whose families were affected by mitochondrial disorders were regularly put forward, it was rarely specified whether their families were affected by nuclear or mitochondrial mutations and thus whether these techniques were of any practical use to them.
Often, in fact, they were not suitable for MRTs.
2 Who will be entitled to use MRTs?
There are also important legal limitations to the application of these techniques. The 2015 UK law indicates the circumstances under which a patient may be authorised to use MRTs. Specifically, there needs to be (1) ‘a particular risk that any egg extracted from the ovaries of [the intending mother] may have a mitochondrion abnormality caused by mitochondrial DNA’, as well as (2) ‘a significant risk that a person with those abnormalities will have or develop serious mitochondrial disease’46. In other words, the intending mother needs to carry a maternally inherited mutation and her eggs need to contain a significant proportion of abnormal mitochondria. Moreover, there has to be a high probability of the future offspring developing a severe condition.
Such conditions of access are complex and difficult to assess in practice, as the intending mother not only has to be aware that she is a carrier, but also needs to obtain a genetic diagnosis in order to understand the specificities of her mutation and its impact on her reproductive choices. As mentioned earlier, some of these women may be asymptomatic or have only mild symptoms of the disorders. They will thus only discover they can transmit the condition after giving birth to a first affected child. Again, this means that MRTs will not cure or eradicate mitochondrial disorders at the population level but only eliminate the transmission risk for a specific pregnancy.
Additional complications regarding access emerge since the risk of ‘having mitochondrial abnormality caused by mitochondrial DNA’ is also dependent on the ‘mutation load’, that is, the percentage of affected mitochondria in a given tissue. MRTs will initially only be accessible to women with very high mutation loads, as high mutation loads are generally indicative of higher risks of developing symptoms and transmitting the disorder, even though this may vary between individuals.47 Also, for women with high mutation loads, MRTs may be the only reproductive techniques available if they want an unaffected and biologically related child because PGD may be inappropriate.48
It is not always possible, however, to determine the intending mother's mutation load through basic tests. For instance, I met two women who were told they were at risk of transmitting a mitochondrial disorder after their mother or their child had been diagnosed, but their tissue samples (e.g. blood, saliva and urine) did not appear to contain the mutations.
Only egg testing, which is an invasive procedure, could assess whether this was the case. All mutations can indeed be concentrated solely within their eggs and be transmitted to future offspring. For these women, only egg testing or PGD will be able to determine whether or not they present a mitochondrial abnormality. In such cases, it might therefore be easier and cheaper to undergo PGD alone rather than to use MRTs.
The second condition in UK law governing access to MRTs concerns the severity of the disorder, which is even more difficult to assess. The identification of a number of particular genetic conditions for which MRTs would be appropriate is not sufficient, as the symptoms and syndromes caused by mitochondrial disorders can be very diverse, even for the same mutation. They can include brain damage, liver disease, muscle weakness, hearing problems or visual loss. It is also difficult to predict whether future children will be affected – the way siblings are affected can vary significantly – in terms of how their health condition will evolve and whether they will be severely affected.
For instance, one woman I interviewed had started to have difficulties walking and hearing. Her mother had died in her early fifties after her symptoms had progressively worsened. Neither the daughter nor the doctors knew how her own condition would evolve. What can therefore be considered ‘severe’? Does it have to be ‘life‐threatening’? The criteria provided by the HFEA regulations and guidelines are quite vague, as they suggest a case‐by‐case approach based on supporting evidence, whereby the ‘Authority's assessment of the seriousness will be made, where possible, based on the most severe symptoms that could be expected for a particular patient's case’.49
3 How many will engage with MRTs?
During the public and parliamentary debates, the assumption was often made that any women at risk of transmitting the disorders and eligible for the techniques would choose to make use of the technology. However, existing studies show that there are a range of ethical, psychological, social and possibly financial difficulties associated with the use of reproductive technologies, especially in complicated situations marked by much uncertainty and ambivalence.50 Using a reproductive technology is rarely a straightforward decision, and various considerations need to be explored when looking at reproductive choices. In my research, although most female participants were of child‐bearing age, many of them told me that they were not willing or able to use MRTs for various reasons.
A first set of reasons was linked to a physical state or medical condition. Amongst the women who had maternally inherited disorders in my study, a number had already developed significant symptoms that would prevent them from carrying a child (e.g. using a wheelchair) or that made them feel too weak to raise one. Some participants were also afraid that their condition would worsen and did not know if they would still be able to take care of a child later on in life. Interestingly, these crucial elements have never been mentioned in the public debates surrounding MRTs. Not only were the implications of mitochondrial disorders on the future mother's health condition not mentioned, but it was rarely pointed out that the future mother could herself be ill or was likely to become ill.
A second set of reasons related to current ‘social’ or family situation (e.g. age, family, work or relationship). While these reasons may not be directly linked to mitochondrial disorders as such, they are still significant when assessing the number of women who would be interested in using MRTs. Some of the participants indeed reported that they were no longer, or not yet, in the right circumstances under which they wanted to have a child, for example because they had no partner or did not feel psychologically or materially ready. Four of the participants had already had their children, before or after being diagnosed, and were not willing to have more. Having another child was also difficult to consider when taking care of a severely ill child or parent, which was the case for 11 of the 28 female participants in this study.
Beyond these social or relational reasons, there were also other significant concerns that prevented these women from being willing to use MRTs. For instance, an important issue for several interviewees was reluctant attitudes towards new reproductive and genetic techniques. Some thought the techniques were ‘too complicated’. They therefore preferred to conceive a child ‘naturally’, i.e. without any medical assistance, and to take the risk of transmitting the disorders or not to have any (other) children. This depended partly on their subjective assessment of the transmission risk. Others felt that they did not know what the side effects and the outcome of using these techniques would likely be. One interviewee also reflected that she would not want to be the first person to ‘experiment’ using MRTs, even though she was ready to use PGD: ‘The advantage of PGD is that it's tried and tested. PGD is happening every single day for loads of different conditions so I do like to know that there are more certainties than uncertainties with PGD. [Mitochondrial donation] has never been done before on a real baby’. Several women also disapproved of or would not want to use MRTs because of religious or ethical reasons.
These are some of the reasons why, in such circumstances, several participants preferred to use another available reproductive option, such as adoption, egg donation, prenatal testing or PGD.51
However, these options were rarely mentioned during the public and parliamentary debates, reflecting the way the debates have contributed to valuing and strengthening biological kinship: it was implicit that there was a need to have a biological child and that this need should be fulfilled whatever the circumstances.
It is important to note that it is not because these women were not willing to use the techniques personally that they were against the legalisation of MRTs. This echoes findings of research into the attitudes of carriers of inherited breast cancer, which has shown that while the majority of participants considered that PGD should be an available option, they were divided over the possibility of using it personally.52 This also highlights the considerable divergence that can exist between people's public and private views on sensitive topics, i.e. they might have private convictions that diverge from the policy they want or have to defend in the public sphere.53
4 Who will be able to afford MRTs?
The issues of the cost and the financing of MRTs were rarely discussed during the debates. In an annex of the consultative document on draft regulations published by the Department of Health, there was a mention of an estimation of the cost that indicated: ‘each cycle of mitochondrial donation treatment will use resources equivalent to two “rounds” of standard IVF (due to the need for a donor mother and the birth mother to have their eggs extracted), + one round of Pre‐implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) to test for the presence of mitochondrial disease in the extracted embryos. […] Using current costs, we estimate each cycle of mitochondrial donation should cost in the region of £20,000’.54 However, a successful conception is expected to require four cycles, as the success rate is estimated to be 25% per cycle. In this case, this means that the estimated cost of successful mitochondrial donation treatment, i.e. that resulting in a birth, if future intending mothers do not present any fertility problems, would therefore be approximately £80,000. This will of course vary according to the provider and to the efficiency55 of the treatment.
In such circumstances, one might wonder how many people will be able to afford MRTs if they are not funded by the NHS.
To put this into perspective, it is worth mentioning that amongst my research participants, three couples who had previously lost a child affected by mitochondrial disorders had to give up on PGD because they thought it was too expensive (£7,000–13,000 per cycle). PGD is funded by the NHS only under specific circumstances. Funding is not available if, for instance, the couple or one of the intending parents already had a previous healthy child, which was the case for these three couples. While the possibility for MRTs to be publically funded is currently under discussion with the NHS,56 one can wonder whether the conditions for PGD will apply to MRTs, and if this is the case, whether it would be a good time to adjust these rules in order to facilitate reproductive choices for intending parents. More generally, it is regrettable that the financial aspects of MRTs, the funding of which is considerable, have not been addressed in more depth during the public debates. In a context of limited health care resources, it could have been worth assessing and discussing the cost/effectiveness of MRTs with respect to other treatments already available or under development.
The considerations outlined above shed a different light on the discourses and the assumptions that have dominated the public domain in the UK in relation to MRTs. Drawing on insights gained from empirical data collected with women affected by the condition and on the analysis of various public documents, the article puts into perspective the scope of MRTs and the potential number of targeted women. The discussion in this article does not suggest, however, that these techniques are not of value, and that their legalisation and their use should be resisted, or that they will not contribute to helping several families to have healthy children. But analysis demonstrates that there is an important gap between the ways these techniques have been presented in the media and in the public domain, i.e. often as a kind of ‘miracle solution’ that will eradicate the disorders, and the social and medical constraints surrounding their use. In particular, the distinction between mitochondrial disorders produced by mutations in mitochondrial DNA and those produced by nuclear defects, along with their relative implications, has disappeared in the debates.
In addition, this article shows that contrary to their representations in the media and in public discourse, families affected by mitochondrial disorders are very diverse and each faces specific issues in terms of quality of life and reproductive choices. It is important to consider and understand all family situations, in particular those who still do not have access to reproductive technologies, and to provide policymakers and stakeholders with detailed information on their needs in order to support these families adequately. This is especially important in the longer term, if we do not want these debates to disseminate a narrow and misleading vision of the situation faced by individuals affected by mitochondrial disorders and to give the impression that reproductive issues for these families are now resolved.
Besides ethical and safety issues, the public and policymakers must therefore have access not only to accurate and relevant information on the techniques and the medical conditions discussed, but also to empirical analysis of existing situations in order to situate them within their broader context. Adopting a sociologically based approach is indeed also ‘necessary and integral to the bioethical process as a whole’.57 It is essential for understanding the complex mix of hopes, ambivalences and uncertainties that new biotechnologies can generate and their broader implications for societies.
THIS IS THE GOAL OF MOVING FORWARD BRAIN/BODY IMPLANTS AND THESE BIOCHEMICAL PATHWAY MUTILATIONS-------
As global banking 1% de BOERS and ELON MUSK plan the PLANETARY MINING SLAVE COLONY for MARS---they are global military-----TELEMEDICINE-----and all these EXPERIMENTAL MEDICAL RESEARCH are being mainstreamed into EVERY POPULATION GROUP as BLIND AMBITION tries to HASTEN what is known to be BIOLOGICALLY IMPOSSIBLE.
Let's just say ELON MUSK was able to get his BARBER SURGEONS to mutilate the human body enough to reach a HIBERNATION PLATFORM. What does that mean? It means taking EVERY SINGLE autonomous activity in the human body OFF---LINE. Then they want to replace that natural autonomous system with ARTIFICIAL/MANMADE products as is MOVING FORWARD today---
HOSTING SERVER NOSY NEIGHBORS as BARBER SURGEONS are working for the global .00014% of people to meet these goals.
When our HUMAN BODY is in HIBERNATION----there will be no ATP mechanisms occurring---there will be no BODY CORE temperature control---no AUTONOMOUS breathing or heart beat-----no AUTONOMOUS nerve sensations like SMELLING, TASTING, HEARING, SEEING. All these functions will HIBERNATE.
The goals of BODY/BRAIN IMPLANTATION and placing a billion BOTS inside a human bodies----using man-made MITOCHONDRIAL ATP processes--using lasers hitting RETINAL IMPLANTS to stream VIRTUAL REALITY VIDEO ----using lasers hitting a COCHLEAR IMPLANT to assign sound to that video-----using SKIN-SURFACE SOLAR ARRAY IMPLANTS attached to NERVE OR MUSCLE to simulate MOVEMENT so these organ systems are not TOO degraded to REACTIVATE.
THIS IS WHY CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY MENDELES IS BEING LET LOOSE UPON 99% WE THE PEOPLE.
HOSTING SERVER NOSY NEIGHBORS as BARBER SURGEONS say----I and all those being HIT are giving their lives----shortening their lives HEROICALLY for the extreme wealth and power goals of THE DEBOER family and the other .00014% of global people.
'Hibernating' Astronauts May Be Key to Mars Colonization
By Mike Wall August 30, 2016 Tech
Artist's illustration of a "Mars Transfer Habitat" that could carry 100 colonists — 96 of them in a hibernation-like torpor state — to Mars.
(Image: © SpaceWorks Enterprises)
Colonizing Mars may require humanity to tap into its inner bear.
Researchers are working on ways to induce a hibernation-like torpor state in astronauts — a breakthrough they say would slash costs and make the long journey to the Red Planet safer and far less taxing for crewmembers.
Such benefits could help lay the foundation for the first footsteps on Mars, and they're essential to the establishment of a long-term human outpost there, project team members said. [Red Planet or Bust: 5 Crewed Mars Mission Ideas]
"We're not going to colonize Mars, or really settle it, sending four or six or eight people at a time every two years; we're going to have to send larger numbers," principal investigator John Bradford, president and chief operating officer of SpaceWorks Enterprises in Atlanta, said last week at the 2016 NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) symposium in Raleigh, North Carolina. "I don't know any other way that you're going to send hundreds of people to Mars."
A long sleep
With current rocket technology, a one-way trip to Mars takes six to nine months. That's a long time to keep astronauts alive, healthy and happy, Bradford said.
He and his team think there's a way to ease this journey — lowering astronauts' body temperatures by about 9 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celsius). This would induce a "hypothermic stasis" that cuts crewmembers' metabolic rates by 50 to 70 percent, Bradford said.
"That reduces the need for consumables in both nutrition and hydration, [and] oxygen demand," he said during the NIAC talk. "That translates to mass, and mass is a critical item trying to support these Mars missions."
Allowing astronauts to more or less sleep through the long trek would also minimize the psychological and social challenges of a crewed Mars mission, Bradford said.
"You kind of get mad at somebody; there's really no place to go," he said. "These are real issues associated with extended-duration spaceflight. If we can cut out the transit phases, we think they'll be much happier when they get to Mars, [and] much more productive." [Buzz Aldrin: How To Get Your Ass To Mars (Video)]
How to do it
Bradford and his team have received two rounds of funding through NIAC, a NASA program that seeks to encourage the development of potentially revolutionary space exploration technologies.
The researchers don't think any huge leaps should be required to make their vision a reality. They're not shooting for a sci-fi-like "suspended animation" state; rather, they seek to leverage the "therapeutic hypothermia" that's already common practice in hospitals around the world, often as a way to help people recover from traumatic injuries, Bradford said.
"We're trying to pull on this technology that's already in use," he said.
Therapeutic-hypothermia patients generally endure the treatment for just a few days, but there's no reason to think it couldn't be applied to astronauts for much longer durations, Bradford added. (He said he'd like to be able to put Mars crewmembers in stasis for the entire journey but that cycling periods of two weeks or so would have significant benefits as well.)
Stasis could be induced in astronauts via evaporative cooling systems already in use for therapeutic hypothermia — for example, two small tubes inserted into the nose that pump in inert gas, cooling the brain. (Sedatives would also be administered to dampen the body's instinctual shivering response.)
Crewmembers would be fed intravenously and catheterized; they would also be "lightly restrained" within the habitat to prevent them from floating around, Bradford said.
Extended exposure to microgravity conditions has a variety of negative health effects, from muscle atrophy and bone weakening to vision problems. But torpid astronauts wouldn't have to worry about such issues, because their habitat would be rotated, generating artificial gravity on board, Bradford said.
There are some inherent challenges in the torpor approach, of course. For example, while the process of going into hypothermic stasis is relatively rapid, waking up from such a state appears to be quite slow; research suggests that body temperature can be safely raised by only about 0.9 degrees Fahrenheit (0.5 degrees Celsius) every hour, Bradford said.
And it's unclear just how long the recovery process would take, or what the long-term mental effects of prolonged hypothermic stasis would be, he added. In addition, significantly cooling the body suppresses immune function, so torpid astronauts would likely be more susceptible to infections.
But Bradford and his team are attempting to address such issues via their NIAC-funded work, and they haven't found any deal breakers yet.
"It's all manageable," Bradford said. "We think this is a very promising approach."
The key to Mars colonization?
Bradford and his colleagues think such torpor tech could not only help get astronauts to Mars (which NASA aims to do by the end of the 2030s), but also allow humanity to establish a permanent colony on the Red Planet.
Settling Mars would probably require sending about 100 people there at once, the researchers wrote last year in a study outlining their approach.
"The first settlements at Plymouth Rock and Jamestown, for example, started with 102 and 104 settlers, respectively," they wrote.
Launching that many Mars pioneers in the standard fashion would require 17 six-person habitats, with a total weight of about 700 tons. But that could be reduced to 200 tons by putting the settlers into hypothermic stasis, the researchers argued.
Their plan calls for building a "Mars Transfer Habitat" employing three habitat modules, two of which would hold 48 dormant colonists apiece. The third (much smaller) module would house four fully alert settlers, who would act as "caretakers" and keep everything running smoothly.
"The reduced metabolic rates that are achieved through torpor relax the mission requirements on consumable food and water, and positively impact the design of the habitat environmental control and life support systems," they wrote in the study, which was presented at the 66th International Astronautical Congress in Jerusalem last year.
"Overall, the application of long-duration torpor for humans to space exploration missions appears to be both medically and technically feasible, and shows great promise as a means to enable settlement of the solar system," the researchers added.