It is no secret that at some point in the distant future humanity is going to have to move out into our solar system and beyond in order to continue to grow and thrive. As many scientists have stated, the first step towards making this future a reality will be the exploration and colonization of Mars. It is the big project of our generation, and one that NASA hopes to be moving forward with by 2030. One of the biggest hurdles that they have yet to overcome is how the astronauts are going to survive on the 6+ month trip to the Martian surface. Although we have already developed the spacecraft that will take us there, the Orion, there has yet to be any progress towards a permanent habitable space that the astronauts could live and function in during transit. Hopefully this is a problem that will soon be solved as it was announced today that congress has allocated $55 million in funds to allow NASA to research and develop a prototype that will be up and running by 2018. Luckily this fits in perfectly with the working timetable that NASA has to get us to Mars by 2030, and is a big boost that is long overdue. Follow the link to learn more about the project.