|Mars space suit scores top national attention|
The North Dakota Space Consortium prototype Mars space suit -- designed by a team led by the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences -- is featured in the current issues of Popular Science and Popular Mechanics. Both of these international circulation publications are notable for their coverage of forward-looking science and technology projects.
"This is tremendous," said Pablo de Leon, the UND aerospace engineer who manages the consortium's North Dakota Experimental (NDX) planetary exploration suit project. "This kind of notice tells us that we're onto something big, and the fact is, we're the only university that has actually built one of these Mars prototype suits -- the others are still virtual suits."
Another remarkable fact that was noted by both magazines is the cost. Four-time shuttle astronaut Thomas Jones, writing in Popular Mechanics, points out that the UND-led effort resulted in a suit that cost only $100,000 to build -- and it was accomplished in just 14 months by a team comprised mostly of students from the five North Dakota colleges and universities involved in the consortium.
As de Leon said to Jones, the idea is to establish a center for space suit expertise (at UND).
For a detailed look at the NDX planetary exploration suit project and the winning North Dakota team behind it, as well as a complete list of the participants, check out the UND news web site at www.und.edu/news/; for a story about the UND staffer who actually sewed the suits vital outer layer, see http://www.und.edu/news/NEW_SCRIPTS/newsrelease.jsp?id=1799 .
For Space.com's look at the UND Mars space suit story and its Badlands test, go to www.space.com/businesstechnology/060505_mars_spacesuit_test.html .