Houston Chronicle: A Houston research institute is providing $4 million in grants to bring the vision of humans slumbering through space travel a little closer.

Four teams of researchers will investigate clues to hibernation. One group will look to squirrels; another to prehistoric humans for clues about hibernation. A third team will put volunteers into 20-hour-per-day cold sleeps, and the final group will submerge liver tissues to test the notion of submerging astronauts in a below-freezing liquid to halt all bodily functions.

The research could have immediate practical implications on Earth as well as for future space travel.