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K-State Works To Improve Astronaut Outerwear

Associated Press - December 2, 2013 5:49 am

A Massachusetts couple has made a $5 million challenge gift to Kansas State University's College of Business Administration.

A Massachusetts couple has made a $5 million challenge gift to Kansas State University's College of Business Administration.

Kansas State University researchers are laying the groundwork for a next-generation spacesuit that could monitor astronauts’ health and use body heat to power electronics.

A team of students and professors in electrical and computer engineering is working with a model spacesuit. The replica is made of multiple layers of material, including metalized fabrics to model the layers in real suits that protect astronauts and keep them warm.

The university says batteries are too dangerous to place in a spacesuit’s oxygen-rich environment, so the team is developing new energy harvesting methods to gather energy. These methods use the temperature difference between body heat and the spacesuit’s cooling garment to power radios and other electronics.

Funding for the project comes from a three-year, $750,000 NASA grant.

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