University of North Dakota Faculty and Students Take UND Space Suit to “Mars”
Two graduate students from the Department of Space Studies at UND, Annie Wargetz and Timothy Holland, are on a trip this week to the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) near Hanksville, Utah for field testing of the NDX-1 (North Dakota eXperimental-1) space suit. The NDX-1 is the only university-developed space suit in the United States. The students are accompanied by Pablo de Leon also from the Department of Space studies. He is the principal investigator for the space suit project and director of the Human Spaceflight Laboratory at the J.D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences.
Wargetz, Holland and de Leon met up with Crew #112 of the MDRS to conduct geologic testing in the desert area around the station and to conduct space suit mobility testing and collect bio-medical data. A senior scientist from Ames Research Center is partnering with de Leon for this week of research.
The MDRS crew collects geologic data while wearing civilian clothes with communication and bio-medical equipment. Then they don the NDX-1 to repeat the geological data collection. Bio-medical data is collected on each person in regard to respiration and pulse rates as well as any other physiological data. Wargetz and Holland are gaining crucial information as to how the NDX-1 allows or prohibits the geologists from performing their data collection tasks.
Funding for the NDX-1 project and this research trip is provided by the North Dakota Space Grant Consortium.