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Mission to Mars
Mission to Mars
Two Kingston University space enthusiasts, have made it their mission to help man to set his foot on Mars. Aerospace engineering and astronautics students Flis Holland and Martin Stolen have developed a Martian dust removal system to aid exploration on the Red Planet. The system consists of a carbon dioxide snow-gun able to be used by astronauts to remove dust from spacesuits and machinery. “Surface dust has been cited as one of the major stumbling blocks in the exploration of Mars,” Newcastle-born Flis explained. “Because it is so finely divided and statically charged, it poses a significant danger to anyone inhaling it. It can also damage machinery used on the planetary surface.”
The pair recently presented their invention to a team of experts at the final of the European Space Agency's Aurora Student Design Competition in Barcelona. The judges were so impressed that they rewarded Flis and Martin, a special prize to visit the European Space Agency's launch site at Kourou in French Guiana. “We were really surprised to be recognised for our work, especially as we were the smallest and youngest team in the final,” Martin, who is from Oslo in Norway, said. “Some of the other teams had 16 people in them, many of whom were already studying at postgraduate level. In contrast, all our work was done in our spare time.”
Kingston University's, Principal Lecturer in Astronautics, Dr Chris Welch praised Flis and Martin for their application during the project. “Their work is important because nobody has really looked at the removal of problematic surface dust before now,” he said.