In this installment of my “mermaid-a-month” series, I’d like to share an interesting piece of news I recently discovered. I know I promised to cover mermaid art this month, but I decided to save that for May (also known as MerMay—the month in which artists everywhere share their mermaid art online) because it would be more appropriate.
So. What is this bit of news? Well if the title is any indication, it’s how science is slowly but surely actualizing the possibility of being a mermaid.
In this article, it is stated: “Scientists have made a breakthrough that could save patient’s lives and open up the possibilities for underwater exploration.”
Essentially, a tiny micro-particle (roughly 3 micrometers) was created that can be injected into the bloodstream, oxygenating blood without any help from the lungs. These particles contains three to four times more oxygen than human red blood cells, and they can allow humans to live up to 30 minutes without breathing before respiratory failure occurs. Though originally created for medical purposes (to prevent brain damage or organ injury from oxygen deprivation), it also opens the door for military uses or solutions to air pollution.
Or, you know, being a mermaid. There’s also that. Imagine being able to swim in the ocean without breathing for three times as long as a dolphin could. Or sit at the bottom of a pool for half an hour, watching the light dance on the tiles.
And this discovery was several years ago. Recent reports indicate these micro-particles are continually being used to save lives in hospitals and prevent environmental pollution by letting a crew fix underwater damage to oil rigs without scuba equipment. I can only imagine how this will continue to progress as it becomes more well-known.
Also, there appear to be no known negative side effects from it. In this article, they are described as a minuscule capsules of small bubbles of oxygen surrounded by a layer of lipids. Meaning that as long as they are injected in regulated amounts, they are completely harmless.
Now this is much different from perfluorocarbon, a breathable liquid which holds just enough oxygen for us to breathe it in safely for short periods of time. While perfluorocarbon sounds cool, the transition from breathing it in to breathing in actual air can be painful, since your lungs have to push the liquid from them. Which is why it’s (apparently) been used as a torture device, similar to water boarding.
But to focus on the matter at hand…
Perhaps saying “breathing underwater” is misleading, since technically, this advancement in science allows you to simply hold your breath for extended periods of time. But either way, it certainly has a wide range of possibilities, and I would love to experience it myself one day.
© 2017 Obliquity of the Ecliptic