Pablo de Leon to be featured speak at next colloquium
The spring 2010 colloquium series focuses on the general theme “Human Missions to Mars” and features several leading experts in the field, both from within UND and other organizations.
The next colloquium talk will be presented by Mr. Pablo de León, Department of Space Studies, University of North Dakota.
Topic: Extravehicular Activities for Mars Exploration
Place: Ryan Hall 111
Date: Feb 22, 2010
Time: 4:00 PM
About the topic: Extravehicular activity is one of the most critical areas for planetary exploration. On Mars, due to gravity conditions, dust contamination and a specific thermal scenario, a special kind of suit is required to protect the astronauts. Since 2005 the Department of Space Studies at UND has been researching in the area of planetary space suit systems and developed the NDX-1 a Mars suit demonstrator which was tested on Earth under analog conditions. As a result of these studies new developments are taking place and a series of design improvements have been done to prepare a suit that can cope with the Mars conditions. Since a space suit is just part of the extravehicular system, an integrated design of the mission contemplating all different aspects of the tasks to accomplish, is required. A new NASA grant is allowing the Department of Space Studies to develop a complete minimal mission scenario including inflatable habitat, airlocks, rovers and space suit, to attempt to address all the different problems related to a human mission to Mars.
About the speaker: Pablo de León has been involved in space suit design for the last 20 years. He was payload manager and general designer of the Project PADE (G-761) science experiments, which completed all NASA certifications, and flew on mission STS-108 to the International Space Station in December 2001. This project carried seven experiments and performed flawlessly during the 12 day space flight. He was designer and fabrications manager for several, underwater-simulation, Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA) analog, pressure suit systems. In conjunction with various activities, he has flown, as payload specialist, in the NASA Johnson Space Center KC-135 aircraft more than 80 weightless parabolas with four Zero-G fluid dynamics experiments. He is co-inventor of an improved chemical and bacteriological suit for protection of firefighters and HAZMAT teams. De León was the project manager and chief designer of the North Dakota Experimental Planetary Space Suit (NDX-1) tested successfully in May 2006 in the North Dakota Badlands, and later at the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah in 2007. Currently he is completing the development of the NDX-2 Lunar space suit prototype and is in charge of the UND Space Suit Laboratory. Recently was awarded a 3-year NASA EPSCoR grant for the development of the prototype of a Lunar base using inflatable components.
Those unable to attend may listen to the live webcast by using one of the links found here.