The resources consumed during a long trip in space will require humans to hibernate. If humanity is to reach stars other than our own, or to colonize planets within our system, we must have reliable hibernation facilities. Taking a short nap to reach Mars or Europa not only saves resources, but will make such journeys far more mentally and physically tolerable. Eventually, there will be exotic travel destinations in space just a short nap away.

I know it will begin with discomfort, most likely by being fed intravenously and catheterized. Unpleasantness befit only for an Astronaut. But eventually, space travelers will need only be lightly restrained within the habitat to prevent them from floating around. Meanwhile, the climate takes care of the rest. A little gas to knock you out, some extra oxygen or ‘happy chemicals’ added to make the trip complete. Just sit back, buckle in and Virgin Galactic will take you & company to Europa for spring break.

“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. I don’t know of any other way that you’re going to send hundreds of people to Mars.” Principal investigator John Bradford, president and chief operating officer of SpaceWorks Enterprises at the 2016 NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) symposium.

Space.com has an interesting article on current research being done on hibernation. It is an immensely fascinating subject that has many scientific and theoretical concepts that new technologies are making possible.