NASA’s Artemis missions will take humanity back to the surface of the moon in 2024 – and the astronauts destined to get there will need some exciting new gear to make the trip. Fortunately, the US agency didn’t disappoint earlier this week, and has taken the wraps off of new spacesuits that eligible astronauts will wear both in pressurized environments and in the vacuum of space.
While technology has progressed since then, most spacesuits have inherited qualities from the original suits designed from the 1969 moon landing. With that comes several limitations – such as fitting suits to female astronauts, as well as the burden of maneuverability. Just earlier this year, NASA was forced to cancel what would have been the first all-female spacewalk due to the fact that there weren’t enough spacesuits available that could have fitted two female astronauts at once.
The new spacesuits function as modular components, where individual astronauts will have a 3D scan of their body taken so that components (such as sleeves or leggings) can be tailor-made to fit them. NASA has claimed that the suits can fit body shapes and sizes from the 1st percentile of women, to the 99th percentile of men.
Taking lessons learned from the tragic Columbia shuttle disaster, NASA’s new orange crew suits can now be pressurized – meaning that crew members undertaking missions in space now have a way to deliver oxygen directly through their suit in the event of an emergency.
The suits themselves accommodate redesigned protective endeavors against radiation and particle filtration – meaning that astronauts landing on the moon in 2024 will be far less likely to endure the nuisance of moon dust interfering with the joints of their suit.
NASA has confirmed that it will pilot three design iterations of its new suits and will manufacture those suits itself prior to 2024, whereafter production efforts will be handed over to the private company.
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