Image: Spacesuit test
The University of North Dakota's Fabio Sau tries out a prototype Mars spacesuit in the Badlands. staff and news service reports
updated 5/2/2006 2:07:07 PM ET 2006-05-02T18:07:07

Students and faculty from five North Dakota colleges are testing a prototype Mars spacesuit 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 are wearing the suit for test expeditions in the rugged Badlands terrain, which resembles the rocky surface of Mars, project manager Pablo de Leon, an aerospace engineer at UND. The tests will focus on how using the suit could affect the mobility of astronauts during extravehicular outings. A Web log is providing regular updates on the tests, which are due to run through Saturday.

"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 space-related research in the state.

This report includes information from The Associated Press and

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