August 29, 2015

"DOE recently restarted plutonium-238 production and should be able to make about 3.3 lbs. (1.5 kilograms) of the stuff annually in the near future, NASA officials have said." In the sci-fi film "The Martian," which hits theaters in October, astronaut Mark Watney (played by Matt Damon) is stranded by himself, and presumed dead, on the Red Planet. by Elizabeth Howell

Watney must figure out a way to survive on the inhospitable planet, and somehow alert NASA that he is still alive so a rescue mission can be mounted. Fortunately, Watney is an engineer and knows how to adapt technology to fit his needs.

But how much of the technology at Watney's disposal actually exists today, or should exist in the near future? Read on to learn about the tech NASA is developing as part of its effort to put real boots on Mars in the 2030s. [See photos from 'The Martian']

read about nine ways The Martian is Martian

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