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"...science fiction is sort of like a sociological genome. It's a huge range of possible futures, most of them useless; some vital. You never really know in advance."
- Peter Watts

Cosmoline (Warm Sleep)  
  Special gel that offers healing and hibernation for space travelers.  

You'll want an alternative to just sitting in your economy class seat all the way to Mars.

They knew our limits, political, biological, psychological. And so they helped us formulate Cosmoline, the greenish gel in which we are all packed and preserved like fruits in a can, not awake, not asleep, but not cold - not frozen - just quiet and contented while the space frames carry us to where we're going.

Some of us call it Warm Sleep. Old-timers will remember that Cosmoline was a patented petroleum-based product that helped keep rifles and guns and equipment from rusting...

The chemistry behind our version of Cosmoline helped foster a thousand medical advances, of course.

From War Dogs, by Greg Bear.
Published by Orbit in 2014
Additional resources -

Bear uses the word in a humorous context:

Cosmoline is the genericized trademark for a generic class of rust inhibitors, typically conforming to United States Military Standard MIL-C-11796C Class 3, that are a brown colored wax-like mass; have a slight fluorescence; and have a petroleum-like odor and taste (as detected when working with it).

Chemically, cosmoline is a homogeneous mixture of oily and waxy long-chain, non-polar hydrocarbons. It is always brown in color, but can differ in viscosity and shear strength. Cosmoline melts at 113125 F (4552 C) and has a flash point of 365 F (185 C).

Its most common use is in the storage and preservation of some firearms, hand tools, machine tools and their tooling, and marine equipment. Entire vehicles can be preserved with cosmoline. Egyptologist Dr. Zahi Hawass recently disclosed that ancient Egyptian mummification practices from the third to fifth dynasties utilized a chemical compound molecularly similar to cosmoline.

Cosmoline is also frequently applied to automotive disc brake rotors at the factory, to prevent corrosion inside the box before the rotor is placed into service on a vehicle. It is easily removed by spraying brake cleaner on the braking surfaces of the rotor.

Compare to cold sleep from Robert Heinlein's 1956 novel The Door into Summer, eternity drug from AE van Vogt's 1944 story Far Centaurus and (for healing) Gobathian from Clifford Simak's 1961 novel Time is the Simplest Thing.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from War Dogs
  More Ideas and Technology by Greg Bear
  Tech news articles related to War Dogs
  Tech news articles related to works by Greg Bear

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