Humans Could Be Frozen Alive and Thawed to Continue Living, Says Russian Company

Danila Medvedev looks inside a low-temperature human storage unit just outside Moscow on June 17, 2010. Alexey SAZONOV/AFP/Getty Images

In pursuit of life everlasting, some turn to God. Others turn to science. Or rather, something science-ish.

If you've ever hoped to be cryogenically frozen, you might come across a legal hurdle: while human cryonics is legal in several countries, you have to be dead before going into the cryonics tank. Otherwise, freezing someone alive is tantamount to killing. So, as it is, you can only get your dead body or head frozen—and when thawed, you'd still be dead.

This doesn't deter some people, who simply hope to be cryopreserved until the day comes that humanity masters the art of resurrection, so scientists can re-animate them and cure their ailments. Or upload their consciousness into the cloud. Whichever comes first.

But for those of you who would prefer to go on ice before the immutability of brain death takes hold, there may be a legal loophole to help. According to The Telegraph, one company hopes to avoid that legal issue entirely by building a cryonics lab in a country where human euthanasia is legal.

If Russian cryonics company KrioRus manages to fund it, they plan to buy a bunker in Switzerland and convert it to a cryopreservation lab. People with one foot in the grave could fly in from around the world and be placed in a cryopreservation tank, awaiting the day when their otherwise-fatal disease is cured, and their body is revived to go on living. (Alternatively, they can consider being awoken when we can upload our consciousness to computers, and we won't need our flesh-prisons. I hear that day is near.)

Cryonics is the idea that you can use extremely low temperatures to preserve humans and animals through cryogenic freezing. It's basically like the premise of Futurama, but without the egg timer. However, the procedure is controversial, and the only humans that have been revived after cryogenic freezing are living embryos. The process would probably kill an adult. In Switzerland, though, that could potentially be passed off as "euthanasia."

However, cryonics is unregulated, controversial and unproven to work. Technically, though, cryogenic freezing of non-humans can be used for less science-fictiony endeavors and is not synonymous with cryonics.

According to its website, KrioRus is the first Eurasian company to preserve people and pets, hosting 50 human bodies or heads and 20 animals in tanks in Moscow and St. Petersburg. They have so far only worked with people who have been declared legally dead (and not Walt Disney ). Freezing your body is $36,000, and a head will set you back $12,000.

There's no guarantee that the Swiss pursuit of pre-mortem freezing will go anywhere, let alone conquer mortality. Perhaps the field of cryonics is just trading one eternal, icy embrace for another.