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If we're to make long-distance space travel a reality then finding a way for humans to hibernate is likely to be key.

This suspended animation, as it is often referred, will be well-known to sci-fi fans after featuring in countless movies and TV shows, including recent Hollywood blockbusters Interstellar and Passengers.

But a new study suggests it may never actually be possible because humans save more energy sleeping than hibernating. 


Chilean researchers set out to investigate whether people could hibernate like bears, which would effectively allow us to snooze during trips through space that last longer than a lifetime.

In naturally hibernating mammals – such as bats, several marsupials and rodents – energy expenditure can be reduced by 98 per cent of normal levels.

However, the Universidad Austral de Chile researchers found that hibernation seems to only be beneficial at small sizes.

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