Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are working on a machine that will soon enable humans to be able to breathe during everyday problems such as when they are on Mars.

The lack of oxygen that plagues Mars has been a slight stumbling block for humans trying to inhabit the red planet but MIT's Mars Oxygen In-situ Resource Utilisation Experiment – or Moxie for short – could put an end to that small problem.

The machine is being made in a bid to turn the pesky carbon dioxide – which makes up 96% of Mars's atmosphere – into oxygen – which is just 0.2%.

It will achieve this feat by collecting carbon dioxide in the tank, isolating just the oxygen atoms and combining them into air satisfactory for human's precious little lungs.

Taking massive tanks of oxygen to Mars consumes vital space on the spacecraft, which could be used for other necessities, so the aim is to make the device as small as possible and one with a much longer life. The project is expected to cost around $130m (£85m).

Nasa hopes to have the device, or devices, on board its follow up to the Curiosity mission in 2020. Former Nasa astronaut Jeffrey A Hoffman told Jessica Orwig of Business Insider: "It will be the first time when we will actually produce oxygen on the surface of Mars."