June 17th, 2010

Drill design could have future on Mars University of Alberta

A team of University of Alberta engineering students has proven themselves other-worldly with their winning design for a machine meant to work on Mars. After sweeping the U of A’s mechanical engineering student design awards, the four-member team took the National Design Excellence title last week with a robotic drill for taking core samples of the red planet.
“Winning the nationals in Victoria was our goal from the start,” said team member Nicolas Olmedo. “We asked our instructors for a very tough design assignment, and we got it.”
Michael Lipsett, a U of A mechanical engineering professor and team advisor, says a Mars core sampler has every challenge imaginable. “The planet has very harsh conditions, and the design has to be light, low-power, and robust, because it’s a long way away for a service call if something goes wrong.”

May 21st, 2004

Students fashion space suits for Mars University of Alberta

As if getting to Mars weren’t hard enough, astronauts also have to worry about what to wear when they arrive. Their concerns? Exposure to micrometeor sandstorms, radiation, and a hyper-cold climate. However, three undergraduate students at the University of Alberta–Jennifer Marcy, Ann Shalanski, and Matthew Yarmuch–addressed the problem in Dr. Barry Patchett’s Materials Design 443 class and have published their findings in the Journal of Materials Engineering and Performance. Students in the class are asked to take something that already exists and improve its performance and design by using new materials.