In Brief

WATCH LIVE TODAY: 'Passengers' Movie Science Panel

Today, two scientists will discuss the real-world science to be found in the new science fiction flick "Passengers," and you can watch the discussion on Facebook.

The movie, which will open in theaters Dec. 21, takes place on a spaceship making a 120-year journey to a distant planet being settled by humans. The ship's 5,000 passengers are placed in hypersleep for the duration of the journey. Two of the passengers, however, find themselves in a nightmarish situation when they wake up 90 years too early.

Starting today (Dec. 9), at 3:15 EST (2015 GMT), a panel hosted by Sony Pictures Entertainment will feature the film's screenwriter, John Spaights; aerospace engineer John E. Bradford, who will talk about the possibility of placing humans in stasis during spaceflight; and planetary scientist Tiffany Kataria, who will discuss the possibility of finding Earth-like planets around other stars. The panel will be hosted by yours truly, and will stream live on the Facebook page, via

Spaights also worked on screenplays for "Prometheus" and "Doctor Strange." Bradford is chief operating officer of SpaceWorks Enterprises, a company that, among other things, is investigating technology for placing humans in stasis during spaceflight. Kataria is a planetary scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and focuses on the structure and dynamics of planet atmospheres in our solar system and beyond.

Three of the movie's stars — Chris Pratt, Jennifer Lawrence and Michael Sheen — will participate in a panel today at 2:15 EST (1915 GMT), which will stream live on the Rotten Tomatoes Facebook page.

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Calla Cofield
Senior Writer

Calla Cofield joined's crew in October 2014. She enjoys writing about black holes, exploding stars, ripples in space-time, science in comic books, and all the mysteries of the cosmos. Prior to joining Calla worked as a freelance writer, with her work appearing in APS News, Symmetry magazine, Scientific American, Nature News, Physics World, and others. From 2010 to 2014 she was a producer for The Physics Central Podcast. Previously, Calla worked at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City (hands down the best office building ever) and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in California. Calla studied physics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and is originally from Sandy, Utah. In 2018, Calla left to join NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory media team where she oversees astronomy, physics, exoplanets and the Cold Atom Lab mission. She has been underground at three of the largest particle accelerators in the world and would really like to know what the heck dark matter is. Contact Calla via: E-Mail – Twitter