They're trouting this for medical and scientific reasons. They're figuring out how to put people in hibernation (where they're alive, but hugely reduced in temprature and metabolism) when they are ill. Or when sending people on long distance space travel.
It was the space travel idea that got the wheels turning. So Sci-Fi. But what if ...
Okay, picture if you will, the sci fi standards today for hibernation. Picture 2001, or Pitch Black. People lay in these uber sci fi coffins, where they're constantly monitored by computer. Now lets at a touch of reality to this vision. Have you ever had to lay still for long periods of time? And I'm not just talking 24 hours. perhaps weeks, or months? If you're not moved around, you get bed sores. Horrible, bleeding cracks and loss of skin. Now, our intrepid astronauts are going to go into hibernation for ... a year? 10 years? 100? Um. No. So, the bed (or coffin, or whatever) has to move. It has to shift the body around so the pressure points change.
Better yet, ditch the coffin idea and go with jell. A thick jell that will support the body equilly at all points. No pressure points = no bed sores.
another lovely side effect of not moving for a few weeks (months, years) is muscle deterioration. They have the astronauts exercise now, and they're awake and moving. People who are unconscence for a long time? They don't just bop up and start playing tennis.
To counter effect this, they would (or could) be subjected to small jolts of electricity into their muscles to keep them trim. But how would this work with hibernation? The point of hibernation is to lower metabolism until the cells don't need oxygen to survive. Does this mean when they wake up, they're muscles will be the same as when they went to sleep? Sci fi tells us 'yes', but I say 'no'. Without some nutriants, the body will deteriate over time - a long time, mind you, but it would. So, I think more real life experiments need to be done to get an idea of which way to go with this.
The mind - oh, a terrable thing to waste, as the saying goes. They seem to think with hibernation, the mind just kind of shuts down, except for the back brain that keeps functions at 'live' levels. We really don't know enough about brains to know if this is fact for any longer than 21 days. This kind of hibernation would be a type of sensory depervation. Specially if they go with the jell idea. The front part of the mind - the waking mind - would be asleep. But our nightmares live in the back brain.
I think these guys will wake up stark raving mad.
They need intertianment. So, here's my vision of possible space travel hibernation.
You are rendered unconscence with a shot of some common drug. Stripped and have wires connecting to patches which are stuck to all the muscles. (I say wires, rather low tech, because you want as few things to go wrong as possible. Remotely controlled electrical impulses might fail). And you would also stick inplants in their ears, where they'd have almost continuous input - music, litarature, science, language studies, whatever. There would be some 'quiet' time, but not too long. Then they'd be placed in a large vat of jell. Locked up, cooled down, computer monitored...
and away they go.