Above the Mission: Remote Teaching from "Mars"

Event Date: October 27, 2021
Diallo Wallace is a naval aviator, aerospace engineer, middle and high school teacher, and PhD student in the School of Engineering Education. For ten days, he added “analog astronaut’ to that already impressive list while inspiring the next giant leaps of his students through remote learning.

Diallo Wallace in spacesuit

Wallace, a current teacher in California, was selected earlier this month to be the mission systems engineer for the analog astronaut research group 1 (AARG-1) mission that was hosted by University of North Dakota (UND). The mission lasted ten days in the Inflatable Lunar-Mars Analog Habitat (ILMAH) at UND where the analog astronauts simulated being on the surface of the planet Mars. “As the mission systems engineer, I leveraged my test and evaluation background for the form, fit, and function of the spacesuits that UND has developed for NASA,” said Wallace. Prior to teaching, Wallace flew helicopters for the United States Navy and deployed for ten months in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Noble Eagle after the events of 9/11.

Classroom with Diallo on Screen from "Mars" Habitat

During the ten days on “Mars,” Wallace also instructed his students remotely thereby providing a unique opportunity for his classroom to experience his mission. With assignments from the mission, he conducted experiments with his middle and high school students related to engineering principles. “The lessons for my students back on ‘Earth’ generated a great deal of interest while also learning about my group’s experiments and research,” said Wallace. His group’s primary task, as mentioned above, was to evaluate the form, fit, and function of the spacesuits for future Mars and Moon missions. A secondary task was to validate crew operations and procedures in a limited bandwidth environment, something students experienced from their own classroom and Wallace inside his habitat. 

Diallo Wallace in Naval UniformWallace has over 25 years of combined experience as a Naval Aviator and Department of Defense Aerospace Engineer working on space systems. He is a California State Credentialed Teacher with academic achievements of undergraduate degrees in Electronics Engineering Technology, Mathematics, and Master’s Degrees in Astronautical Engineering and Program Management. 

As a PhD student in the School of Engineering Education, Diallo is pursuing his passion bringing students to an understanding of science and engineering through mathematics. His recent mission proves his persistent pursuit of doing just that.