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NASA wants the industry's ideas for deep space habitats

Astronauts need to live somewhere on their trip to Mars.

NASA announced on Thursday that it is seeking development proposals for deep space habitats -- the kind that astronauts will call home on trips to Mars and beyond. This call is the second part of NASA's public-private partnership, Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP), which requested initial concept proposals last October.

These habitats are the third component of NASA's plans for interplanetary discovery, the first two being the new Space Launch System and the Orion Crew Capsule. And with the scheduled maiden flights of both of those vehicles coming up in 2018, NASA's now working on the next phase of the trip -- keeping astronauts alive until they reach their destination. To that end, US companies, universities and nonprofits will have until June 15th to submit their ideas, though there is no word yet on when NASA will declare a winner.

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