The new sci-fi flick Passengers takes place in a far off futuristic world where interstellar space travel has become possible. Starring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt, the movie tells the story of two space traveler who wake up from an induced state of hibernation, or stasis, 90 years ahead of schedule.
A mechanic Jim Preston (Pratt) finds himself all alone on a starship, thanks to a malfunctioning hibernation pod. Jim disturbed by loneliness decides to wake up a woman. He wakes up Aurora (Lawrence) and she falls in love with him.
The ship on a 120-year journey to an Earth-like planet called Homestead II that is located in a neighboring star system. Things get complicated when the ship starts malfunctioning, and it is up to the two to save the lives of 5,000 people in hibernation pods as well as themselves.
Although essentially a romantic movie, Passengers does indeed have some cool technology that is scientifically accurate. The Hibernation science in Passengers is not far from reality, according to a Popular Science report.
Hibernation Tech in Real life
In the movie, the people aboard the starship Avalon are placed in a ?hibernation pod,? which, through drugs and environmental controls, puts them into suspended animation. They are meant to sleep throughout the 120-year long journey only to wake four months prior to the destination.
However, humanity is nowhere near ready for such a long journey, but the sci-fi hibernation is actually grounded in today?s reality. NASA is reportedly funding research of Space Entreprises, a company planning to put astronauts through a similar process.
NASA’s ?Journey to Mars? is?aiming for a crewed mission to Mars in the 2030s.?John Bradford, COO of SpaceWorks Enterprises, told Space.com?plans of?putting astronauts in six-month?stasis. It would be a cost-saving measure as people in stasis will not consume as many resources. Also, astronauts do not need to move around, and as such might not require a large transportation vehicle.
SpaceWorks is working on a technology that involves lowering a person?s core temperature to 332 degrees Celsius. Then, they?use medication as natural defense against cold and shivering. The practice, called “therapeutic hypothermia” or “targeted temperature management,” is used in medical science too.
Passengers? hibernation procedure is as such similar as it does not involve any intrusive technology. People are not hooked to any machines or any sort of tubes. However, SpaceWorks hopes to use repeated cycles of hibernation where people wake up and then go back to sleep again. However, the said technology is still in testing period and would be long before it makes to the mainstream space travel.