PHOENIX - An engineer from the valley is helping astronauts breathe in space through her own invention.
Phoebe Henson, 26, created a device that cuts down on carbon dioxide in the International Space System. She's been at Honeywell for just 4 years, but she's already leading engineers that are much older and who've been doing it much longer.
She works as an advanced systems engineer, and her project will allow astronauts to live in space for two years. Some say this will change space exploration as we know it.
The system will be used to help astronauts breathe on missions to the moon and Mars, and even out in deep space.
Henson says it's the most efficient, safest, lightest and smallest compared to any other system on the market.
Leading a team of engineers at Honeywell, which has a partnership with NASA, a CO2 removal system for the international space station was created. The device absorbs CO2 from the air, captures it and turns it into oxygen.
She says her system maintains a CO2 concentration half the levels on the space station currently.
"This problem is a critical one to solve if we are going to make long term space habitation a reality," Henson says.
This is important because astronauts experience negative health effects including headaches dizziness and fatigue.
At a young age, Henson says she wanted to become an engineer. She studied at Arizona State University and took her first job out of college at Honeywell.
She's proud to work for a company that's given her opportunities to grow and change the way we study space.
"It is really exciting," she said. "It is always a dream of mine to put something into space."
Henson's system will be put to use in the space station in 2021.
Another bit of exciting news for Henson: She was just named as one of Forbes' "30 Under 30" recipients for her groundbreaking work.