The agency is planning to send microscopic organisms into space to land on the Red Planet, in order to see if they can produce oxygen and therefore pave the way for humans to one day colonise Mars.
The experiment follows successful laboratory tests on algae and bacteria and how they react with soil from Mars.
NASA experimented in a specially-created “dummy Mars” to see if astronauts would be able to use microorganisms from Earth together with the surface of Mars to create life-sustaining oxygen.
Experts are confident of being able to land on Mars from 2030 and hope the pioneering new technology will be available at that time.
The agency has been working with company Techshot Inc, from South Carolina, on the technology in a special ‘Mars room; laboratory, which replicates the conditions of the red planet on Earth.
So far during experiments, some minute organisms were capable of making oxygen out of Martian soil – which is called regolith.
These microscopic creatures were also found to have removed nitrogen from the soil.
Eugene Boland, chief scientist at Techshot, said: “This is a possible way to support a human mission to Mars, producing oxygen without having to send heavy gas canisters. Let’s send microbes and let them do the heavy-lifting for us.”