- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 16, 2017

KIPP, Kan. (AP) - A mock-up of a spacecraft built in central Kansas is getting ready to take off for Kansas State University.

The spaceship will arrive at the university sometime next week from the Douglas Welding & Machine shop in Kipp. The interior will be finished at the school before the capsule is used in fitness research, the Salina Journal reported .

A NASA grant is funding research to prepare future astronauts to withstand trips to and from Mars.

University professor and cardiovascular physiologist Carl Ade said the Mary and Carl Ice Hall, where the spacecraft will be shipped to, has a Mars obstacle course and equipment that simulates microgravity for use in other NASA research projects.

A team of graduate students and university faculty will work on finishing out the inside of the spaceship to make it as close as possible to NASA specifications for the rocket planned to take astronauts to Mars in the 2030s. Ade said if at some point NASA changes the interior’s design, those changes can be duplicated in the mock-up.

“This is awesome,” said Douglas Welding & Machine employee Zane Hansen of the spacecraft’s exterior siding. “It changes the whole look of it when you put the skin on it.”

He said the project’s goal is to find the level of cardiovascular and muscle strength needed to complete tasks such as opening a hatch, throwing out a life raft and climbing out within seconds.

University representatives plan to present the data at the annual NASA Human Research Program meeting in February 2018.

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Information from: The Salina (Kan.) Journal, https://www.salina.com


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