When Cameron Smith found out that his imperfect eyesight meant that he couldn't join NASA, he took matters into his own hands. He enlisted the help of half a dozen student volunteers from Portland State University – where the 45-year-old works as an archeology professor – to help build his own spacesuit.
Hand-stitched in his apartment over a 60-month period, the suit has been tested in three separate scenarios – one at 18,000 feet in the air, one underwater to detect leaks, and one thermal test at subzero temparatures – and passed every one of them.
Smith and his volunteers all believe that the colonization of space is the only rational way to ensure that the human race has an insurance policy for the future. Although the suit cost $5000 to produce, Smith hopes to find a way to build one for $1000 and show everyone that the dream is achievable.
Smith's journey from archeologist to astronaut has been charted in new documentary Come Fly With Us, part of Mazda's new 'Challenge Convention To Make This Better' film series championing nonconformists the world over. Watch the film here.
For more unbelievable stories of inspirational oddballs, head to Mazda Rebels.