In early August, the Icelandic Space Agency (ISA) embarked on an expedition to Grímsvötn in Vatnajökull National Park with NASA to test the Mars Mission space suit (MS1).
Daniel Leeb, director of ISA, led a diverse team of various backgrounds and expertise to the most active volcanic region in Iceland with the prime directive to test the suit. The group gathered in a one-room, six-bed cabin, and cosied up for six days of intense research and development. Among them was designer Michael Lye, who helped to build the MS1 suit in collaboration with NASA at Rhode Island School of Design.
The suit is still being tested for use in space, and especially on Mars, which is why the team came to Iceland. The landscape here is apparently very similar to that of Mars. “If you really want to study the possibilities of long-term human habitation…in space, you must begin that journey by conducting field studies and tests on analogous terrestrial areas such as those found in Iceland,” Leeb said.
It looks like humanity is one small step closer to going to Mars. If teams like the one led by Leeb continue this way, we may hope for giant leaps towards the day. With the way Earth is going, that day can’t come soon enough. I wonder if Martians accept MasterCard.