Bears hybernate over Winter. They snuggle down somewhere dark and safe - caves are good like that - then they fall asleep. They're very very grouchy if you wake them up before Spring, apparantly. So they sleep through their Winter and wake hungry but none the worse for wear.
Scientists (at NASA I'm gonna assume) want to find out how a bear can manage this much inactivity without any loss of muscle tone etc. They'd like to know the secret so they can safely put astronauts to sleep on the long journey to Mars.
Maybe they should cut out the middle man and save some money. If they just sent the Bears to Mars they wouldn't have to spend all that money on research.
I heard something beary the other day :
woman - "you're eating only one source of food and refusing to mate"
guy - "what??"
woman - "you're pandering"