The hibernation technology used in "Passengers" movie is not just an imagination. Experts explained that humans can be placed in a state of stasis -- which is similar to hibernation -- during a space mission. In fact, NASA is funding a research to use this technology for their 2030 manned Mars mission.
However, with the current technology, it is impossible to put people in 120 years of hibernation just like in "Passengers," instead, the stasis will last for about 6-12 months. During stasis, the astronauts would not require as many resources. They would also be protected from space radiation, which is a major concern on NASA's human missions to Mars. With the hibernation technology the astronauts could be placed in a heavily shielded compartment.
"We're doing it for the purposes of reducing how much food and consumables people need, and to be able to package people in a small space," John Bradford, an aerospace engineer and SpaceWorks Enterprises COO said, according to Space.
Bradford explained how this hibernation technology could work. "We leverage heavily on a process called targeted temperature management, or therapeutic hypothermia," he said. He added that it is similar to what hospitals do in case of traumatic brain and cardiac arrest.
When in stasis, a person's core temperature is lowered by about 10 degrees to give time to recover from traumatic injuries. Metabolism is also lowered by 70 percent and the body consumes less oxygen. Bradford said that the stasis in hospitals can only last a few days to two weeks. But, they are currently researching on how to extend it to months.
SpaceWorks have yet to do human trials for the technology but he explained the effects are similar to what was depicted in the "Passengers" movie. After waking up, the person will feel extremely tired however, there no negative long-term side effects. Bradford added that this hibernation technology can be ready in time for NASA's manned Mars mission "Journey to Mars" scheduled in the 2030's