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MarsSkin 2 was first deployed on Expedition 1. After five days of deployment, the MarsSkin suits have been fantastic. The first few days were very hectic as we integrated the datalogger into the back plate and chest panel. The chest panel needed to be jigged for the installation of the datalogger display and keypad. This was complicated as we tried to fit the GPS and power connections of the datalogger inside the chestbox too. However, this has been accomplished, and the panel looks a treat. The suits now have a panel which shows suit and datalogger functions, as well as various switches and controls for each.
The most profound differences between MarsSkin and the existing MDRS suits (apart from the navy blue colour scheme) are the helmets, gloves and backpacks. The MarsSkin helmets are worn on the head, so they move and provide virtually unrestricted vision. The MDRS suits have a fixed bubble helmet, and seeing down to the pockets and feet is very difficult. The MarsSkin gloves are also much more flexible and useable. Finally, the backpacks needed for the mechanical counter pressure suits that MarsSkin simulates are much smaller than the MDRS suit backpacks, so overall weight and bulk is better.
I am only on Phase 1 of the expedition, so there are a couple of things still to be done. Firstly, a full operations manual needs to be written so that the suits can be used by anyone on Ex-One once I am gone. This will include a full donning and doffing procedure. Also, a quantitative comparison of the MarsSkin and MDRS gloves and helmet will be attempted.
Many congratulations need to be extended to the MarsSkin crew back home for their efforts. Their work has been invaluable and crucial to the success of the expedition.
Personal Utility Life Support System
|The Personal Utility Life Support System (PULSS) consists of the container(s) and systems which support and augment life and the mission during extravehicular activity (EVA) including power, cooling, communications, lighting, drink supply, control interface and status indicator. The PULSS group is based in Melbourne.|
|The helmet is essentially a clear dome with several ancillary items/systems.|
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