(National Geographic) – In a small, white warehouse two hours north of Moscow are 56 dead people who hope to live again. Their bodies are upside down, their blood fully drained from their arteries, as they wait, immersed in negative 196-degree Celsius liquid nitrogen for the next 100 years.
What they’re waiting for is a new life, or a continuation of the one they already lived. Many of the bodies belong to people who reached the end of their life naturally, usually at an advanced age. They made the decision to be cryopreserved before they died, or in some cases, their family signed the paperwork post-mortem and paid the $36,000 to freeze their loved one’s body (or $18,000 for just their head) for the standard term of a century—which can perhaps be extended, to be determined, based on where science leaves us in the 22nd century.
Waiting on research advances is the rationale behind cryopreservation, and more broadly, a worldview known as transhumanism. A person killed by cancer or heart disease could reasonably be revived in a future when such ailments no longer exist. “They believe in the advance of technology,” says Giuseppe Nucci, an Italian photographer who visited with transhumanists and toured the facilities of Russia-based cryonics company KrioRus. “They hope that someone will wake them up.”
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