Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

What To Wear On Mars

Date:
May 24, 2004
Source:
University Of Alberta
Summary:
As if getting to Mars weren' hard enough, astronauts also have to worry about what to wear when they arrive. Their concerns? Exposure to micrometeor sandstorms, radiation, and a hyper-cold climate.

May 21, 2004 – As if getting to Mars weren' hard enough, astronauts also have to worry about what to wear when they arrive. Their concerns? Exposure to micrometeor sandstorms, radiation, and a hyper-cold climate.

Related Articles


However, three undergraduate students at the University of Alberta--Jennifer Marcy, Ann Shalanski, and Matthew Yarmuch--addressed the problem in Dr. Barry Patchett's Materials Design 443 class and have published their findings in the Journal of Materials Engineering and Performance. Students in the class are asked to take something that already exists and improve its performance and design by using new materials.

Patchett said that the space suit for Mars is the first design created in the class that he felt could stand up to the peer review process required for publication. "It is the best project I've seen in over a decade," he said.

"I don't know why we decided to design a space suit," Yarmuch said. "Nothing like it had ever been designed in the class before, so I guess that was the main attraction."

The three materials engineering students began by studying, layer by layer, the space suits NASA developed for trips to the moon. Suits made for Mars, however, will require much more thought than the ones produced for the lunar landings, Yarmuch said. "Mars has nothing for atmosphere. There's some carbon dioxide, but that's about it for gases."

Unlike Earth, Mars does not have a magnetosphere to protect it from radiation and meteors and micrometeors, and astronauts exploring the martian surface will also have to deal with average temperatures of –55 C and low recorded at a frightening –133 C. In creating their design, the students tried to balance these concerns with the need to create a suit that astronauts could move about in as they explored.

"The gravitational force on Mars is about one-third of that on Earth, so if you built the suit with lead to protect the astronauts from the radiation, it would still end up weighing a few hundred kilograms, and the poor guys wouldn't be able to move," Yarmuch said.

The suit includes ball bearings and bearing and compression rings, and one of the 12 layers of material the students incorporated into their design is Demron, a new polymeric created by a company called Radiation Shield Technologies (RST). As the students completed their theoretical design using computer-aided design software, they didn’t worry about costs, which "would have been very high" if they produced an actual suit, Yarmuch said.

"We asked RST for an estimate on the cost of Demron, but because it's such a new product and we were only asking them for a speculative price, they didn't even want to give us a number," Yarmuch said. "Ultimately, we designed it without concern for cost--we went cutting edge on everything."

Two of the reviewers on the editorial board for the Journal of Materials Engineering and Performance are from NASA, Patchett noted, so perhaps one day parts of the U of A students' space suit design will be incorporated into a suit built by NASA.

"That would be very cool," Yarmuch added. "The development of a real suit to be used on a real mission to Mars is probably still a couple of decades away at least, but I think our research will help point future researchers in the right direction."

Related links – internal

The U of A Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering website

Dr. Barry Patchett's U of A webpage

Related link – external

The Journal of Materials Engineering and Performance website


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Alberta. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Alberta. "What To Wear On Mars." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 May 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/05/040523093150.htm>.
University Of Alberta. (2004, May 24). What To Wear On Mars. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 30, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/05/040523093150.htm
University Of Alberta. "What To Wear On Mars." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/05/040523093150.htm (accessed January 30, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Space & Time News

Friday, January 30, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

NASA Holds Memorial to Remember Astronauts

NASA Holds Memorial to Remember Astronauts

AP (Jan. 29, 2015) NASA is remembering 17 astronauts who were killed in the line of duty and dozens more who have died since the agency&apos;s beginning. A remembrance ceremony was held Thursday at NASA&apos;s Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama. (Jan. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Asteroid's Moon Spotted During Earth Flyby

Asteroid's Moon Spotted During Earth Flyby

Rumble (Jan. 27, 2015) Scientists working with NASA&apos;s Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, California discovered an unexpected moon while observing asteroid 2004 BL86 during its recent flyby past Earth. Credit to &apos;NASA JPL&apos;. Video provided by Rumble
Powered by NewsLook.com
Water Fleas Prepare for Space Voyage

Water Fleas Prepare for Space Voyage

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 26, 2015) Scientists are preparing a group of water fleas for a unique voyage into space. The aquatic crustaceans, known as Daphnia, can be used as a miniature model for biomedical research, and their reproductive and swimming behaviour will be tested for signs of stress while on board the International Space Station. Jim Drury went to meet the team. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mars Rover Opportunity Celebrates 11-Year Anniversary

Mars Rover Opportunity Celebrates 11-Year Anniversary

Rumble (Jan. 26, 2015) Eleven years ago NASA&apos;s Opportunity rover touched down on Mars for what was only supposed to be a 90-day mission. Since then it has traveled 25.9 miles (41.7 kilometers), further than any other off-Earth surface vehicle has ever driven. Credit to &apos;NASA&apos;. Video provided by Rumble
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins