DARPA opens the program "Biostas"

    As is known, the US Army is very sensitive to personnel losses. If the military of another country loses 100-200 fighters in one operation - this does not cause objections in society, then in the USA after such an incident a public protest campaign may begin. History knew examples when, under pressure from the public, the United States had to withdraw its troops from the occupied territories.

    Therefore, the main task in conducting American operations is to minimize the number of casualties among personnel. It is advisable to reduce them to zero. The Department of Advanced Research Projects of the United States Department of Defense or DARPA (English Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) launched a new program , Biostasis, to research how molecular biology can help.

    It would seem, what does molecular biology have to do with survival on the battlefield? It turns out the most direct. DARPA funds research papers that study biostasis.

    Formally biostasis [Greek. bio (s) - life and stasis - immobility, arrest, stagnation] is the ability of living organisms (separate individuals or their groups) to resist environmental changes without adapting to these changes. In practice, we are talking about slowing down the process of metabolism, that is, slowing down the “biological time” in the body of a wounded soldier until the moment when he is provided with medical assistance. In this way, the time window for treatment widens and the chances of survival increase.

    Some living organisms on Earth are indeed capable of slowing down their own metabolism. For example, the sluggish ones are capable of this - some of the toughest creatures on our planet. In the state of biostasis, they withstand temperatures from −272 ° C to + 150 ° C, can live without food, water and oxygen, feel excellent in vacuum and under enormous pressure in the depths of the ocean. Some scientists believe that the virtually unkillable slug can live to the time when our sun ceases to exist. Of course, people will disappear from the planet long before that.


    Other animals are also capable of biostasis. The mechanisms used by them are somewhat different and it hardly makes sense to try to repeat them in human use. DARPA proposes to concentrate on slowing down specific molecular processes at the protein level so that the whole body harmoniously and gradually “slows down” the work - and then return to a normal state without serious consequences.

    "At the molecular level, life is a set of continuous biochemical reactions, and the defining characteristic of these reactions is that they need a catalyst," says Tristan McCleur-Begley.(Tristan McClure-Begley), Biostaz program manager. - These catalysts enter the cells in the form of proteins and large molecular machines that convert chemical and kinetic energy into biological processes. Our goal is to control these molecular machines and delicately slow down the entire system, avoiding adverse effects when the intervention is complete. ”

    Developers first plan to explore simpler biochemical processes associated only with antibodies, then find more general solutions for individual organs and tissues, and then scale to the level of the whole organism.

    The name "Biostaz" for the scientific program sounds somewhat futuristic, but this is not the only DARPA project that seems to have disappeared from the pages of a science fiction novel. Earlier, the agency announced promising research on the transformation of plants into sensors for intelligence gathering , on the development of guided bullets that change the trajectory in flight, and unbreakable computers . So no wonder.

    In the end, it was DARPA (formerly known as ARPA) that financed the development of many technologies that were fantastic for its time, which entered the everyday life of modern people. Among them are the Internet (ARPANET), the GPS system ( Transit satellites ), the concept of time distribution in operating systems (OS Multics ) and many others. In 2011, DARPA and NASA held a “Centenary Spacecraft” symposium dedicated to the preparation of a manned flight into deep space.

    Perhaps the development of DARPA on biostasis will also find application in other areas, and not just on the battlefield. For example, it seems logical to slow down the biological clock for astronauts when traveling to deep space or to terminally ill patients while waiting for the invention of a medicine for their illness. And just for everyone who for some reason wants to make a small “leap into the future” - go to bed and wake up in 10-20 years.

    Additional information about the program "Biostas" DARPA announce March 20, 2018. The webinar starts at 12:30 PM EDT .

    Also popular now: