Performing scientific research work in a space suit is one of the major challenges of future human exploration of Planetary surfaces. The work reported in this highlight aims to better characterize the science task performance impacts of wearing a space suit. Ames scientists Carol Stoker, Marybeth Willhelm, and Christopher Haberle (SST), in collaboration with University of North Dakota Space Suit developer Pablo de Leon conducted field trials wearing a prototype planetary surface space suit to perform field science tasks. The trials were conducted from February 6-10 at the Mars Desert Research Station, a simulated planetary surface base in the Utah desert. Activities tested included performing an ecological survey of extremophile microbes that inhabit rock habitats (endoliths), and conducting hand operated drilling activities. Tests determined the effectiveness, accuracy, and work load increase for performing tasks while wearing the space suit compared to the same task outside the suit. The work was funded by the Moon and Mars Analogs Research program, task Drilling on the Moon and Mars in Human Exploration (PI C. Stoker)
Subject Chris Haberle operates an electrical rotary percussive drill in Mars analog terrain while wearing the North Dakota NDX1 space suit.