Cryonics, often mistakingly called cryogenics, was the human term for the concept of low-temperature preservation of biological tissue. In the early Post Diaspora era, it was vital for space travel, as the mortal beings aboard a starship could only survive a lengthy sub-light voyage to another star system in cryogenic hibernation.
In the beginning stages of the pre-prolong Diaspora, humanity had to deal with the basic problem of limited longevity, and given that interstellar travel was limited to combustion engine speeds, many colonists would have simply died of old age on their way to their intended colony.
In 305 PD, Doctor Cadwaller Pineau of Tulane University was successful in cryogenically freezing living beings, and then waking them back to consciousness. In fact, Dr. Pineau did not develop technology to avoid water-crystallisation, but he researched a way how to circumvent it: he found out that by lowering the body temperature of the subject close to, but not exactly, the freezing point, the demands placed on the subject's body were slowed to a point at which they were nearly in stasis.
For several decades, Dr. Pineau and other scientists developed this process to reduce muscular atrophy and other troubles related with the long time spent in hibernation. They declared that it would be in the subjects' best interests to spend a full month exercising vigorously after being thawed, given that they had effectively spent several months lying down. The standard maintained by Dr. Pineau and his research team remained the basic requirement for the whole cryogenic colonization era. (UHH)
In 478 PD, the process finally became available for widespread use. However, the invention of the hyperspace drive some three hundred years later and the Warshawski sail in the 15 Century PD, as well as the discovery of several wormhole junctions that allowed instant travel over extraordinary distances, made the cryogenic conservation technology as good as obsolete. (HH2)
- ↑ They had abandoned all their original spacefaring technology for religious reasons.
- Detailed article about Cryonics on Wikipedia