The bodies inside Alcor’s liquid nitrogen vats are said to include some of the world’s scientific game-changers (Picture: Alcor/Metro.co.uk)
Motionless in liquid nitrogen, the bodies of would-be time travellers are being stored in an almighty gamble on the future.
The ‘lifeboat to the future’ in Arizona involves humans and pets being cryo-preserved in the hope that future technology brings them back to life.
Among the ‘patients’ being stored in sub-freezing, rocket-like cylinders are said to be household names who wanted to take part in frontier science after their legal deaths.
James M. Arrowood, of the Alcor Life Extension Foundation, gave Metro.co.uk a tantalising look at the world of cryo-suspension and those who have signed up.
More than 200 patients, including Brits, have their bodies or heads in storage courtesy of the non-profit research company in the hope of an ‘amazing’ future reawakening.
‘Some of the most pre-eminent people the world has ever known are stored with Alcor,’ Mr Arrowood said.
‘We have household names from science and technology who have signed up because they want to be part of this mission and experiment.
‘They include people who have changed the world.
‘Our recovery teams co-ordinate with their security teams and the process is often done anonymously.
The ‘dewars’ at the Alcor Life Extension Foundation offer a gamble at a second life in the future (Picture: Reuters)
‘For confidential members, everyone is given a number and no one is known by their name, with only a few of the Deployment and Recovery Team (DART) members and a few of Alcor’s executives knowing who they are.
‘But it’s not just for rich people. Approximately 80% of our members are what we could call middle class and have signed up through life insurance.
‘Many people realise it’s a remote possibility.
‘But it’s like a lottery ticket and if it doesn’t work you will never know, so there’s nothing to lose yet you can greatly contribute to valuable scientific research by donating your body in this way.’
Established in 1972 by Fred Chamberlain III and his wife Linda, Alcor currently has 225 in-suspension patients and 1,424 living members signed up for an existence at –192C (-377F).
Fred’s father, Col Fred Chamberlain Jr, became the first patient after his clinical death in 1976. The son then went into suspension after his ‘pause’ in 2012, while Linda still works for Alcor.
Cryonics advocates look to radical strides in medical science such as nanotechnology to revive patients as well as the ability to reverse the ageing process and cure terminal conditions.
An operating room at Alcor where a procedure is underway to place a patient in long-term storage (Picture: Alcor)
Ideally, the process begins as soon as a patient is declared dead, with the body being cooled and transported to Arizona for ‘vitrification’, where cryoprotectants are pumped into the bloodstream to act as anti-freeze.
The patient is then suspended in long-term storage designed to protect the body from deterioration for hundreds or thousands of years.
Mr Arrowood, Alcor’s co-chief executive and president, explained the process involving the …read more