NASA was instructed by the Congress to develop a habituation module for creating living quarters in deep space for future missions.
The space agency has been given $55 million in an omnibus spending bill that should be fulfilled by the year 2018. According to a report that accompanies the bill, “NASA shall develop a prototype deep space habitation module within the advanced exploration systems program no later than 2018.”
The report, according to SpaceNews, says, “NASA shall develop a prototype deep space habitation module within the advanced exploration systems program no later than 2018.” The space agency has also been instructed to produce a report on the status of the project and what the funds have been used for within 180 days.
While NASA has talked about developing the habituating module, with astronauts sent into space some 10 years after the completion of the testing, it has set the testing date for the 2020s.
According to Digital Trends, NASA International Space Station director, Sam Scimemi, says that the habituation testing will occur during a “shakedown cruise” in cislunar space. He also said that the idea is “our big objective for cislunar space for human spaceflight.”
Since a trip to Mars to test the habituation module could be as long as a year, it will be carried out by traveling to the moon and seeing whether the crew feels comfortable and safe.
According to TIME, contracts have been given by NASA to several outside companies under the Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships – NextSTEP – program. The details of the habituation module have not been revealed by the space agency.