With The Book of Boba Fett dominating viewers’ eyes, some classic Star Wars scenes are getting a second look.
One, of course, is how Boba Fett escaped from the deadly Sarlacc pit that supposedly killed him. Another question involves Han Solo being cryogenically frozen around the same time Boba Fett fell into the pit.
Star Wars is set in a universe far away and operates on different rules, where obviously it’s normal to freeze someone and then bring them back. How far are humans in our galaxy and time from that technological advancement?
The answer is pretty damn far, according RMIT University physics professor Gary Bryant. Bryant told Science Focus that sure, we can freeze some cells, but a whole human body would be incredibly difficult.
One of the main issues is that human beings are mostly made of water, meaning ice would form in cells, effectively eradicating them for future use.
“There’s no evidence of any cryoprotectant being injected into his body, and there’s no human cell you can freeze without adding cryoprotectant first,” Bryant said.
Cryoprotectant protects certain cells, like cancer, eggs, and sperm, but it won’t work universally. Also, the makeup of cryoprotectant is toxic and would kill you.
“You’d just be left with the skeleton and the dead cells, like the skin,” Bryant said. “The brain certainly wouldn’t survive.”
The main issue is in the variety of cells in the human body.
“There are well over 200 types of cells in the human body, and we can freeze fewer than 10,” Bryant said. “Even then, we must freeze them under different conditions. So to freeze red blood cells, we have to use very high concentrations of cryoprotectant. We must also freeze them quickly because the cells respond fast to changes in their environment. White blood cells, we have to freeze slowly and use smaller amounts of cryoprotectant.”
Right now, we do have the technology to cryogenically freeze people but unfortunately, not during a person’s lifetime. Once they’re dead, however, it’s obviously less risky. The idea is that once we figure out the technology, we’ll be able to bring people back.
A 14-year-old girl once sued for the right to freeze her body.
“I think being cryopreserved gives me a chance to be cured and woken up – even in hundreds of years’ time,” the girl told the judge, who agreed with the girl that she should at least have the option over her own body after it dies.
Some scientists say nanobots may be the answer to the problem. They say the tiny robots could potentially rebuild a person’s brain and body. However, Bryant said that’s a long way off.
“We’d have to actually understand the brain enough to be able to reconstruct it,” he said. “We don’t have any idea what the brain does. We don’t know how memories or knowledge are stored. We don’t know how people’s reactions are stored. The brain is what makes you you, and that’s what you want to preserve.”