Inside Nasa’s next-gen space suits that astronauts will wear to the Moon and MARS — and there are some big surprises

NASA has been working on a next-generation space suit like we’ve never seen before – here’s what you need to know.

Last month, the US space agency announced that it would be working with Axiom Space and Collins Aerospace to develop a new suit for astronauts.

NASA has been working with Collins Aerospace and Axiom Space on a next-generation space suit

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NASA has been working with Collins Aerospace and Axiom Space on a next-generation space suitPhoto credit: Collins Aerospace
The new suits will focus on comfort and mobility

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The new suits will focus on comfort and mobilityPhoto credit: AFP

What we know about the suit

The garment will focus on a modern and athletic approach that will provide “unmatched mobility” according to Collins Aerospace.

Cosmonauts of different body types will also be able to don the suits — particularly women in the 5th percentile for height and men in the 95th percentile, Nasa said.

“When we get to the moon, we’re going to have our first person of color and our first woman who will be wearers and users of these suits in space,” said Vanessa Wyche, director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

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In a separate press release in late May, Nasa required the suits to allow people to “explore the lunar surface and unlock new spacewalks outside of the International Space Station.”

Designed for protection

While Nasa has kept the actual design under wraps, we know what they’re looking for.

The new suit is designed to protect astronauts from micrometeoroids, lunar dust and even vomit, Scientific American reported.

In terms of hearing, the suits must protect astronauts from all sounds above 115 decibels.

Patriotic suits

Scientific American experts also noted that the suit’s design will be inspired by the “ceremonial display of American stars and stripes by each group of Apollo moonwalkers.”

Additionally, the next-gen spacesuits will be outfitted with tools that will help Artemis crew members carry and hoist an American flag.

The space suits should be ready for testing on the International Space Station (ISS) in a few years.

A long way…

Nasa has been working on the spacesuit technology for the past 15 years and spent about $420 million on the project as of 2021, according to an official report.

The report found that the spacesuits onboard the International Space Station “have exceeded their design lifespan by more than 25 years, requiring costly maintenance to keep astronauts safe.”

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

Artemis Moon Mission

Launched by Nasa in December 2017, the Artemis program aims to return humans to the Moon by 2025.

Two of the program’s short-term goals are to land the first woman and first colored person on the moon.

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Medium-term goals include building an international expedition team and a sustained human presence on the moon.

In the meantime, Artemis’ long-term goal is to extract lunar resources from the moon and eventually enable manned missions to Mars.

https://www.the-sun.com/tech/5776509/nasa-next-gen-spacesuits-astronauts-moon-mars/ Inside Nasa’s next-gen space suits that astronauts will wear to the Moon and MARS — and there are some big surprises

Chris Barrese

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