Marshall Space Flight Center “The Martian” Media Tour
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — This past week, SpaceFlight Insider, along with other members of the media, received a behind-the-scenes tour of real “The Martian” technology at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) in the lead-up to the Oct. 2 opening of what’s expected to be Hollywood’s next blockbuster.
NASA scientists and engineers served as technical consultants on the film – helping producers present a realistic view of Mars’ climate and topography, and the challenges NASA is facing to prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet in the 2030s.
Those present at MSFC received a hands-on tour of the technology and programs that are turning science fiction into science fact for the journey to Mars.
First, in the Advanced Concepts collaboration room, there were several presentations on, and animations of, Mars mission concepts and proposed habitats and landers.
Next, media had the opportunity to tour life-size mock-ups of proposed habitats to learn how engineers and scientists are designing the quarters where astronauts will live and work on long-duration missions to Mars and other destinations.
Then, in MSFC’s Environmental Control and Life Support System lab, participants heard how NASA is using knowledge gained from generating oxygen and recycling water aboard the International Space Station (ISS) to develop oxygen/water systems for Mars missions.
In addition, media were shown how the MSFC team is using simulated Martian regolith to advance manufacturing technologies, such as 3-D printing, which may allow future explorers to build structures using in situ material.
There was also an update on the status of the Space Launch System (SLS) – NASA’s next generation vehicle that is intended to launch astronauts on the journey to Mars. The update included a look at the progress being made on a test version of the Launch Vehicle Stage Adapter (LVSA), which will connect the rocket’s 27.5-foot-diameter core stage to its 16.4-foot-diameter Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage (ICPS).
A few “Insider” photos:
Scott earned both a Bachelor's Degree in public administration, and a law degree, from Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. He currently practices law in the Birmingham suburb of Homewood. Scott first remembers visiting Marshall Space Flight Center in 1978 to get an up-close look at the first orbiter, Enterprise, which had been transported to Huntsville for dynamic testing. More recently, in 2006, he participated in an effort at the United States Space and Rocket Center (USSRC) to restore the long-neglected Skylab 1-G Trainer. This led to a volunteer position, with the USSRC curator, where he worked for several years maintaining exhibits and archival material, including flown space hardware. Scott attended the STS - 110, 116 and 135 shuttle launches, along with Ares I-X, Atlas V MSL and Delta IV NROL-15 launches. More recently, he covered the Atlas V SBIRS GEO-2 and MAVEN launches, along with the Antares ORB-1, SpaceX CRS-3, and Orion EFT-1 launches.