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Though a frequent subject of televised scorn on the since-dissolved The Colbert Report, bears might actually provide the fundamental knowledge necessary for the furthering of space travel. If Interstellar didn't instill the desire for alternative colonization deep within your psyche, perhaps the fact that bears' hibernation process most likely holds the answers to long-distance space travel will do the intellectual trick.
“This could be the basis for a new therapy for astronauts, or people with a bone-related chronic illness,” says Meghan McGee-Lawrence — assistant professor in cellular biology and anatomy at Georgia Regents University in Augusta. McGee-Lawrence is a co-author of the study that revealed bears are protecting their bones from drastic degradation — despite hardly moving for up to six months during hibernation — by temporarily halting the usual release of calcium from the bones and into the blood.
As expressed throughout the global conversation surrounding the difficulties of achieving long-distance space travel in the future, a person's bones would be detrimentally weakened after such a lengthy period of inactivity — though long-distance space travel of value will most certainly require an adaptation to such physical pauses. "If we can look to nature and try to understand how existing biological systems such as those in hibernating black bears can overcome bone loss," posits Dr. Lewis Dartnell of the University of Leicester in a recent Guardian feature, "[then] we can use this knowledge to protect our own species in space."
So, yeah. Please apologize to the bears, everyone. They have been gravely underestimated and unfairly maligned.