Google+ SpaceTravelFoundation: NASA shares its technologies with Hollywood for the movies The Martian

August 21, 2015

NASA shares its technologies with Hollywood for the movies The Martian

Dear readers and followers,

NASA explained the science behind nine real NASA technologies featured in Ridley Scott’s new film The Martian. Based on the 2011 novel of the same name by Andy Weir, the upcoming film stars Matt Damon as Mark Watney, a botanist accidentally left for dead on Mars.

Credit image: Nuevemonos

“The Martian” merges the fictional and factual narratives about Mars, building upon the work NASA and others have done exploring Mars and moving it forward into the 2030s, when NASA astronauts are regularly traveling to Mars and living on the surface to explore. Although the action takes place 20 years in the future, NASA is already developing many of the technologies that appear in the film.

  • The habitat: On the surface of Mars, Watney spends a significant amount of time in the habitation module, called the Hab, his home away from home. Future astronauts who land on Mars will need such a home to avoid spending their Martian sols lying on the dust in a spacesuit.
    At NASA Johnson Space Center, crews train for long-duration deep space missions in the Human Exploration Research Analog (HERA). HERA is a self-contained environment that simulates a deep-space habit. The two-story habitat is complete with living quarters, workspaces, a hygiene module and a simulated airlock. Within the module, test subjects conduct operational tasks, complete payload objectives and live together for 14 days (soon planned to increase to up to 60 days), simulating future missions in the isolated environment. Astronauts have recently used the facility to simulate ISS missions. These research analogs provide valuable data in human factors, behavioral health and countermeasures to help further NASA’s understanding on how to conduct deep space operations.

  • The rover: once humans land on the surface of Mars, they must stay there for more than a year, while the planets move into a position that will minimize the length of their trip home. This allows the astronauts plenty of time to conduct experiments and explore the surrounding area, but they won’t want to be limited to how far they can go on foot. Astronauts will have to use robust, reliable and versatile rovers to travel farther. In "The Martian," Watney takes his rover for quite a few spins, and he even has to outfit the vehicle with some unorthodox modifications to help him survive. Here, the rover should be more bigger than Curiosity, the NASA's rover or Yutu the Chinese's rover.
    On Earth today, NASA is working to prepare for every encounter with the Multi-Mission Space Exploration Vehicle (MMSEV). The MMSEV has been used in NASA’s analog mission projects to help solve problems that the agency is aware of and to reveal some that may be hidden. The technologies are developed to be versatile enough to support missions to an asteroid, Mars, its moons and other missions in the future. NASA’s MMSEV has helped address issues like range, rapid entry/exit and radiation protection. Some versions of the vehicle have six pivoting wheels for maneuverability. In the instance of a flat tire, the vehicle simply lifts up the bad wheel and keeps on rolling.

More technology have been shared, such as: plant farm, water recovery, oxygen generation, Mars spacesuit, ion propulsion, solar panel, ....

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