Marshall Space Flight Center turns science fiction into science fact

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - NASA's journey to Mars may be closer to reality than you realize and those at the Marshall Space Flight Center are responsible for the technology needed to survive on the red planet.

"We're working on many different type things, but, particularly how we will care for the astronauts; how they live how they breathe," said Director of Marshall Space Flight Museum, Patrick Scheuermann.

Here is one prototype of what they're looking to build: A three story international space station, with nearly everything the crew onboard would need, including spare parts.

"If you want to know what it's like to be on the international space station, this is exactly what it feels like," said Scheuermann.

Since the exploration is too long of a trip to carry limitless supplies of water and oxygen, the Marshall Space Flight Center is testing The Advanced Environmental Control and Life Support System to provide clean water and regenerate oxygen on the craft. But it's not an easy task that can be created and tested overnight. "We're going to be very comfortable that we've retired every risk we can possibly retire for them, to not only survive the journey, that would be deployed on the surface, but back to earth," said Scheuermann.

But they have no doubt the trip to mars is possible.

"We're living today in the world of possible. And I believe that the role that the Marshall Space Flight Center plays is really crucial for us to be able to go from the moon to now places that people dreamed about all along; to get to the Martian surface," said Scheuermann.

According to NASA, exploration of mars isn't expected until the 2030s.