Potential of a new generation of spacesuits for the Moon and Mars is revealed

NASA is working on next-generation spacesuits that are unlike anything we’ve seen before. Last month, the US Aerospace Administration announced it was teaming up with Axiom Space and Collins Aerospace to develop a new astronaut suit as part of the Artemis project. 

When developing the spacesuit, engineers used a modern and sporty approach. According to Collins Aerospace, this allowed space clothing to provide superior mobility. Moreover, astronauts with different body types will be able to wear suits.

An illustration of the Axiom Space Extravehicular Mobility Unit (AxEMU) spacesuit, which the company is currently developing in Houston, Texas. Authorship: Axiom Space

“The first people to wear a new generation of spacesuits on the Moon will be the first woman and the first African American,” said Vanessa Weiche, director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

NASA also demanded from Axiom Space and Collins Aerospace that spacesuits allow people to explore the lunar surface and open up new opportunities for spacewalking outside the International Space Station.

Designed to protect

NASA does not disclose the secret of the final design of space suits, but we know what requirements it has voiced. The new suit should protect space travelers from micrometeoroids, lunar dust and even human organic waste, Scientific American reports. As for hearing, the suits should protect astronauts from any sounds above 115 dB during the launch of the spacecraft.

An illustration of an astronaut wearing a Collins Aerospace spacesuit on the surface of the Moon. Authorship: Collins Aerospace

Scientific American experts also noted that the costume design will be patriotic, interspersed with the stars and stripes of the US flag. In addition, the next-generation spacesuits will be equipped with tools that will help Artemis crew members carry and install the American flag on the surface of the Moon and Mars. But before using them on other planets, they will first be tested on the International Space Station (ISS) for several years.

Long development process

NASA has been working on spacesuit technology for the last 15 years. According to the official report, about 420 million dollars have already been spent on the project. The report notes that the spacesuits on board the International Space Station have long exceeded their design life by more than 25 years, which requires expensive maintenance to ensure the safety of astronauts.

The staff is conducting a mobility test of the prototype of the Collins Aerospace spacesuit. Authorship: Collins Aerospace

NASA’s current suits have been a workhorse for the organization for 40 years. “They were worn on 169 spacewalks,” said Dina Centella, space station operations integration manager.

Artemis Mission

The Artemis program was launched by NASA in December 2017 and aims to return people to the Moon by 2025. The two short-term goals of the project are to land the first woman and the first African-American on the surface of our moon. Medium-term goals include the creation of an international expedition group and the construction of a permanent colony to stay on the Moon. Meanwhile, Artemis’ long-term goals are to extract the resources of the Earth’s moon and make possible future missions with crew delivery to Mars.

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