Dr. Ralph Merkle joins us to discuss recent advances in cryonics & nanotechnology, and how they may facilitate a next-generation “sleeper-ship” to transport frozen explorers across the cosmos. Merkle is a Professor at Georgia Tech’s College of Computing, a director at the Alcor Life-Extension Foundation, and a respected pioneer in nanotechnology.
Since 1972, Alcor has done pioneering work in cryonics for life-extension applications, and today nearly 100 patents rest peacefully in liquid nitrogen in their Scottsdale, Arizona facility awaiting future resuscitation. Among the many aspects of this technology that Merkle addresses is the common misperception that ice-crystals rupture cells during the freezing process — a concern that breakthroughs in cryoprotectants and ice-blockers have eliminated. We discuss this technology in the context of the traditional science-fiction “sleeper-ship” as a means for facilitating multi-decade missions across the cosmos that would normally exceed an explorer’s lifespan.