Astronauts eat red romaine lettuce grown on board the International Space Station.
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From "Aliens" to "Interstellar," Hollywood has long used suspended animation to overcome the difficulties of deep space travel, but the once-fanciful sci-fi staple is becoming scientific fact.Morten Tyldum's "Passengers" stars Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence as strangers on a 120-year journey to the distant colony of Homestead II when their hibernation pods wake them 90 years too early.While the research being done by SpaceWorks could make 180-day journeys to Mars much more affordable, the technology is not capable – not yet – of extending human life to allow for the thousands of years required to reach our next nearest star. "Passengers" screenwriter Jon Spaihts says he found himself running into tensions between the dramatic requirements of the movie and "hard science" when it came to designing his hibernation pods.NASA says the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, launching in 12 months, will seek out yet more new worlds among the galaxy's brightest stars, where the discovery of earthling-friendly planets is deemed more likely.
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