The Spaceward Bound Mission includes de Leon of the UND Department of Space Studies; NASA space biologist Jon Rask; and NASA astrobiologist Dr. Chris McKay. Rask is Senior Scientist and McKay is a planetary scientist at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA’s) Ames Research near San Francisco, CA. The team also includes a field support and documentation specialist.
The team is expected to spend seven to 10 days at the Marambio Station, Argentina’s main Antarctic base, to conduct a variety of tests with the NDX-1 planetary exploration suit system. The NDX-1 also has been tested extensively in the Badlands and at the Dahlen Esker in North Dakota, at the Mars Desert Research Center in Utah, and at the Ames Research Center.
The NDX-1 was designed and constructed at UND through NASA funding provided by the North Dakota Space Grant Consortium.
The team plans to blog this expedition; you can follow the team’s test routines at http://spacesuitlab.blogspot.com/Background
The expedition to Antarctica is modeled on the experience learned in North Dakota to accomplish several objectives, including a demonstration in the use of a pressurized space suit and drilling operations at desired locations with rock drilling technologies.
Samples of soil and ice will be gathered at the top of the permafrost boundary, at the ice-soil interface, as well as within the permafrost. The data gathered from this analysis will be compared to data from UND space suit experiments conducted earlier, including a test and demonstration conducted earlier in western North Dakota that garnered international attention.Useful links:
*UND Department of Space Studies http://www.space.edu/
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