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Prototype Mars Space Suit Goes to Badlands

May 2, 2006

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) – Students and faculty from five North Dakota colleges will unveil a prototype Mars spacesuit this weekend in the Badlands.

Students from the University of North Dakota, North Dakota State, Dickinson State, the state College of Science in Wahpeton and Turtle Mountain Community College in Belcourt designed the experimental suit with a $100,000 NASA grant.

Students on Saturday will don the suit and test it in the rugged Badlands terrain, which resembles the rocky surface of Mars, said project manager Pablo de Leon, an aerospace engineer at UND.

“Our college students here in North Dakota can do amazing things. This project showcases this local talent with a cutting-edge, high-tech project,” said Shan de Silva, chairman of UND’s Department of Space Studies and director of the North Dakota Space Grant Consortium.

UND said the Mars suit project ranked in the top three of the 50 grant proposals submitted last year to the NASA Aerospace Workforce Development program.

The North Dakota Space Grant Consortium is a NASA-sponsored program aimed at enhancing NASA-related research in the state.




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