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Preliminary Testing of a Pressurized Space Suit and Candidate Fabrics Under Simulated Mars Dust Storm and Dust Devil ConditionsIn August 2009 YAP Films (Toronto) received permission from all entities involved to create a documentary film illustrating what it might be like to be on the surface of Mars in a space suit during a dust storm or in a dust devil. The science consultants on this project utilized this opportunity to collect data which could be helpful to assess the durability of current space suit construction to the Martian environment. The NDX-1 prototype planetary space suit developed at the University of North Dakota was used in this study. The suit features a hard upper torso garment, and a soft lower torso and boots assembly. On top of that, a nylon-cotton outer layer is used to protect the suit from dust. Unmanned tests were carried out in the Martian Surface Wind Tunnel (MARSWIT) at the NASA Ames Research Center, with the suit pressurized to 10 kPa gauge. These tests blasted the space suit upper torso and helmet, and a collection of nine candidate outer layer fabrics, with wind-borne simulant for five different 10 min tests under both terrestrial and Martian surface pressures. The infiltration of the dust through the outer fabric of the space suit was photographically documented. The nine fabric samples were analyzed under light and electron microscopes for abrasion damage. Manned tests were carried out at Showbiz Studios (Van Nuys, California) with the pressure maintained at 20 2 kPa gauge. A large fan-created vortex lifted Martian dust simulant (Fullers Earth or JSC Mars-1) off of the floor, and one of the authors (Lee) wearing the NDX-1 space suit walked through it to judge both subjectively and objectively how the suit performed under these conditions. Both the procedures to scale the tests to Martian conditions and the results of the infiltration and abrasion studies will be discussed.
Document ID
Document Type
Technical Memorandum (TM)
Gaier, James R.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
deLeon, Pablo G.
(North Dakota Univ. Grand Forks, ND, United States)
Lee, Pascal
(Mars Inst. Moffett Field, CA, United States)
McCue, Terry R.
(Arctic Slope Regional Corp. Cleveland, OH, United States)
Hodgson, Edward W.
(Hamilton Sundstrand Space Systems International, Inc. Windsor Locks, OH, United States)
Thrasher, Jeff
(Yap Films Toronto, Ontario, Canada)
Date Acquired
August 25, 2013
Publication Date
August 1, 2010
Subject Category
Lunar And Planetary Science And Exploration
Report/Patent Number
AIAA Paper 2010-6247
Meeting Information
40th International Conference on Environmental Systems(Barcelona)
Funding Number(s)
WBS: WBS WBS 936374.03.01,03
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.

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