"The Martian" may be science fiction, but certain technology featured in the film are closer to fact.
Roberto Furfaro, director of the Space Systems Engineering Lab at the University of Arizona and a professor in SIE, is principal technical investigator on the Prototype Lunar/Mars Greenhouse project. Using similar farming techniques as the astronaut/botanist in the film, Furfaro and his fellow researchers built a working prototype of a Martian greenhouse to grow vegetables such as sweet potatoes and lettuce.
While farming on Mars may be several years away, there are desolate areas on Earth that could benefit from their greenhouse technology today.
"If you get stranded in some arctic regions for whatever reasons, and you need to produce food, [the greenhouses] could potentially quickly deploy. They're fully automatic," said Furfaro.