As everyone knows, in 'Empire Strikes Back' they freeze Han Solo by using carbonite. We then see Lando Calrissian check the side of the carbonite block which has a heap of lights and buttons, which tells him he was still alive after the freezing process.

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My question is, what is the in-universe explanation as to how they were getting life signs from Han while being frozen solid in carbonite.

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    @BCdotWEB, did you even read my question, I already linked the first link in my question.
    – KyloRen
    Oct 5, 2016 at 10:29
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    The "alive" light was on and the "dead" light was not. Seriously, though, there are probably indicators showing if the contents have been compromised in any way, and in absence of any condition that would preclude Han from being alive, it is inferred that he is indeed alive. Oct 5, 2016 at 11:26
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    Measuring brain activity? Han claimed later that he was concious the whole time and was struggling for breath. No idea how he managed to have brain activity without oxygen while being 'in perfect hybernation, encased inside a slab of carbonite' but apparently somehow he did it :)
    – user68762
    Oct 5, 2016 at 11:29
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    @Valorum, what I am looking for is an explanation as to how those sensors work in-universe.
    – KyloRen
    Oct 5, 2016 at 12:41
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    @KyloRen - The trick is to think about what you want to ask, then ask it.
    – Valorum
    Oct 5, 2016 at 13:17

1 Answer 1


At least one of the gauges was a temperature monitor for the inhabitant.

Kneeling, Lando turned some knobs on the device and checked the gauge measuring the temperature of Han’s body. He sighed with relief and nodded his head. “He’s alive,” he informed Han Solo’s anxious friends, “and in perfect hibernation.”

Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (novel)

There also seems to be some sort of sensor that measures the temperature of the carbonite.

A huge mechanical tong lifts the steaming metal-encased space pirate out of the vat and stands him on the platform. Some Ugnaughts rush over and push the block over onto the platform. They slide the coffinlike structure to the block and lift the metal block, placing it inside. They then attach an electronic box onto the structure and step away. Lando kneels and adjusts some knobs, measuring the heat. He shakes his head in relief.

Empire Strikes Back - Script

And something that measures the flux(?) of the carbonite

Control panels were set along the outer side edges of the carbonite frame. Boushh pressed a button beside the carbonite flux monitor, then slid the decarbonization lever and watched a green light flicker on the life system monitor.

Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (junior novelization)

  • Nice find!!! UV
    – KyloRen
    Oct 5, 2016 at 13:23

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