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Habitable Planet is not Far-Fetched! Scientists Decipher real science from Fantasy in Sci-Fi film ‘Passengers’

In the film, the passengers travel on a rotating spaceship to create gravity and the idea is not just science fiction

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Los Angeles, December 21, 2016: In the new Sci-Fi film Passengers, by Sony Pictures Entertainment, people on Earth are on a 120-year trip to colonize a new planet. But something goes wrong on their way there. Scientists say while much of the movie is a work of fiction, there is some real science behind many of the ideas in it.

For NASA scientist Tiffany Kataria, finding a habitable planet is not so farfetched. She studies planets that orbit another star, or exoplanets.

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“The ultimate goal with studying exoplanets is to really find an Earth twin, to find some other planet out there that’s earth-like that maybe eventually we can colonize some day and explore,” said Kataria.

In the film, the passengers travel on a rotating spaceship to create gravity. The idea is not just science fiction says aerospace engineer John Bradford.

“That’s one of the main ways we’re going to mitigate some of the challenges and things that come out in microgravity environment damage to the human body in terms of bone demineralization and muscle atrophy. Having this artificial gravity solves those problems, and rotating it is the best way to do it.”

But Bradford said current technology is not advanced enough to build a ship as large as the one portrayed in Passengers where it can house thousands of people.

“The size of the ship is probably the big challenge, being able to create those large structures. Are you launching those from Earth? Are you building them in space is a big part of the stretch for me. The hibernation and the propulsion aspect and things (are) probably less so,” said Bradford.

Bradford’s company SpaceWorks Enterprises is researching hibernation – or human stasis – in space, with the hope that it could be used for human flight to Mars.

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One of the possible effects of spending time in space and long-term microgravity is intracranial pressure which impairs an astronaut’s vision. Bradford said that’s something human stasis can help, among other benefits.

“One of the challenges on the space station that they’re seeing right now is with increased intracranial pressure, and that is causing long-term damage on the astronaut’s vision. So even from a six-month’s stay on a space station, astronauts are having reduced vision when they come back. Actually cooling down the body, reducing the metabolism reduces that intracranial pressure. It’s one of the treatments here on Earth,” said Bradford.

Putting humans in a state of hibernation will also reduce the amount of food and oxygen they need. Bradford said his company would first start human stasis for shorter periods of time to see how the body reacts before increasing the time of stasis.

“Initially we would maybe cycle through the crew in two-week stints of being in stasis and then they take turns waking up and then inducing the next person, waking them. Those two weeks are within current medical technology. It’s a limited data set, but that has been done before. But ultimately to get the full benefits we want to be able to go to five or six months, and that will take years – 15 years or so, 20 years to really fully understand all the impacts on the crew. But for the shorter stay and the shorter duration, these two-week cycles, we’re optimistic we could be ready to support the first missions to Mars. We’ve just got to convince NASA,” Bradford said.

As for human space fights beyond Mars and our solar system, that is where science ends and the fiction begins.

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“So the closest planet that we know of, it’s actually close to an Earth mass. It’s called Proxima Centauri-b. Proxima Cen is 4.2 light years away,” said Kataria. “The Juno spacecraft is orbiting Jupiter as 150,000 miles per hour (240,000 kph), so relative to Jupiter if we think about that same spacecraft getting maybe a gravity assist and going to Proxima Centauri b, that would take at that same speed tens of thousands of years. So really the technology still needs to make that leap, I think, to be able to achieve light speed travel or close to light speed travel. “

It may take years for technology to catch up to the imagination, but audiences can still experience the excitement of space travel by going to movie theaters. (VOA)

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USA: Everything you want to know about Security Clearance; Find out here!

A security clearance allows a person access to classified national security information or restricted areas.

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Former CIA Director John O. Brennan speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, March 11, 2014. President Donald Trump revoked Brennan's security clearance Wednesday. VOA
Former CIA Director John O. Brennan speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, March 11, 2014. President Donald Trump revoked Brennan's security clearance Wednesday. VOA

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan. We take a look at what that means.

What is a security clearance?

A security clearance allows a person access to classified national security information or restricted areas after completion of a background check. The clearance by itself does not guarantee unlimited access. The agency seeking the clearance must determine what specific area of information the person needs to access.

What are the different levels of security clearance?

There are three levels: Confidential, secret and top secret. Security clearances don’t expire. But, top secret clearances are reinvestigated every five years, secret clearances every 10 years and confidential clearances every 15 years.

All federal agencies follow a list of 13 potential justifications for revoking or denying a clearance. VOA
All federal agencies follow a list of 13 potential justifications for revoking or denying a clearance. VOA

Who has security clearances?

According to a Government Accountability Office report released last year, about 4.2 million people had a security clearance as of 2015, they included military personnel, civil servants, and government contractors.

Why does one need a security clearance in retirement?

Retired senior intelligence officials and military officers need their security clearances in case they are called to consult on sensitive issues.

Also Read: Governments Across The World Request Apple for 30,000 Device Information

Can the president revoke a security clearance?

Apparently. But there is no precedent for a president revoking someone’s security clearance. A security clearance is usually revoked by the agency that sought it for an employee or contractor. All federal agencies follow a list of 13 potential justifications for revoking or denying a clearance, which can include criminal acts, lack of allegiance to the United States, behavior or situation that could compromise an individual and security violations. (VOA)