A team from Draper, which is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, are working on a device that is built into a spacesuit and will help keep the crew safe by ensuring they can never get lost in space.
Kevin Duda, a space systems engineer at Draper, said: "Without a fail-proof way to return to the spacecraft, an astronaut is at risk of the worst-case scenario: lost in space. Although no timeline exists currently for adoption of the new spacesuit idea, Draper has done some early prototyping with Nasa to refine the design and test the automatic return capabilities. Conservatively speaking, we see development of this spacesuit in the 5-10 year range.
"Giving astronauts a sense of direction and orientation in space is a challenge because there is no gravity and no easy way to determine which way is up and down. Our technology improves mission success in space by keeping the crew safe."
The button can either be used by the astronaut themselves or be pressed by Mission Control on the ground.
It works by sensing the movement and acceleration of the person wearing the spacesuit as well as knowing the relative position of the other members of the crew too.
Duda explained: "Astronauts are likely going to spend several months in a relatively small spacecraft while they're on their way to and from Mars.
"Gaining a better understanding of how they use the ISS can help NASA make sure that they have a layout that accommodates the right equipment, and enables them to do their daily work as efficiently as possible."