Friday, February 23, 2007

Building A Better Spacesuit Authentic NASA Toys and Replicas
One of the few things keeping the human body from freezing, burning and drying to death is the "ever lovable" spacesuit. Despite the benefit they provide towards astronauts, the suits themselves are quite bulky, making it less comfortable to actually work on the lunar surface.

One researcher is going about to change all of this, by giving these suits a complete makeover.

(Red Orbit) "I can't tell you how many times I watched the astronauts fall down on the lunar videos," she joked. "Obviously, it isn't meant to be funny. But it's difficult for them to get up with the survival pack on their back and those bulky suits. We're hoping our new research projects will lead to a streamlined space suit that makes it easy to navigate the terrain." [...]

"For one thing, it's clear that the placement of the life support pack is too high on the astronaut," Scott-Pandorf said. "Possible redesign ideas are to alter the pack to fit the front and back of the space suit evenly or create a pack that attaches closer to the waist, which would lower the astronaut's center of gravity. It's the same idea as if you were balancing on a surf board bending your knees and staying low. This lowers your center of mass and allows you more stability."

After watching the videos is fairly obvious that NASA's spacesuits were designed more to do a job (i.e. keep the astronauts alive) than to actually be comfortable.

With the private sector becoming more serious about transporting humans into space, comfortable spacesuits will increasingly be apart of the menu (as space tourists would probably enjoy the Moon more on their feet than on their face).

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  1. See 'space activity suit' at wiki

    A space activity suit consists of a pressurized bubble helmet (much like those in fully pressurized spacesuits), a positive-pressure breathing system, and an elastic leotard, which provides mechanical counterpressure to the body. The main difference from a pressure suit is that the counterpressure to the surface of the body is provided by an elastic non-airtight fabric instead of gas pressure – skin itself is actually quite airtight.

    Advantages - provides greater mobility, it's not as massey. Current disadvantages .. it's more difficult to put on.

  2. I wish I could say more, bnut you aint seen nothing yet. The suit Richard Branson wears this week in TIME will soon look ridiculously antiquated.

  3. To Brian: Thanks for the link. That was well worth the read. Hopefully they will come out with something like that soon, as I would hate for anyone to do a face plant on lunar dirt!

    To L. RioFrio: You can't tease us like that! ;-)

    I guess I am just going to have to stay tuned then!


You can either visit the stars or watch them from afar.

But if you choose the former, you'll definitely get a better view.

~Darnell Clayton, 2007

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