Remember the movie “Passengers” from a year or two back? It’s a couple hundred years in the future and big space-liners are ferrying hundreds of humans to a new Eden-like planet that takes, I dunno, a hundred years in Earth time to get to, so everyone months their hibernation pods for a big sleep, so they can wake up relaxed and refreshed when they arrive.
Meanwhile, back here in Earth-bound labs, there’s serious science at a furious pace getting done on this persuasion, simply in preparation for our coming shuttles to Mars, a mere 34 million miles out. Both scientists and shrinks are concerned about how we’ll deal with 7 months of pitch-black window views in a tin can livingroom, twiddling collective thumbs whilst we hurdle towards the red orb at a mere 18K mph.
And rightly so. Look no farther than the panic in people’s eyes when they wander into an earth-bound space with no cell reception: Wait: whaaaaat? Now multiply that by seven months and throw in doses of exponentially rising anxiety, depression and, gulp, animosity. It’s a recipe for disaster, no matter how chill you start out, and one we’ve seen dramatized in a dozen other on-screen space operas.
So what’s a body to do? Sleep! They zip you up in one o’ them pod thingies, turn a valve and a switch and you’re cool (like, REALLY cool) for the duration. We’ve seen how this goes: A trusted crew member wakes you up prior to landing and all’s well. Easy, right?
Sure it is. Easy as sprouting wings-easy. More next time…