Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Are Skin Tight Space Suits Becoming Fashionable? Authentic NASA Toys and Replicas
(Image: Dava Newman modeling in new suit, Credit: Donna Coveney, via New Scientist Space)

If humans are defined by the clothes they wear, then our species may be in trouble when it comes to our spacesuits.

Despite the fact that our current spacesuits have enabled us to walk on the moon (and survive in micro gravity), they are probably not the best option when it comes to strolling upon other worlds.

Now it seems that a group of engineers has decided to make life easier for future colonists by designing a "soft suit," that may not only be easier on the human body, but aesthetically pleasing to the eyes as well.

(New Scientists Space) For the last seven years, Newman and colleagues have been working on a different kind of suit (see First people on Mars will be shrink-wrapped). Their "BioSuit" provides pressure by wrapping tight layers of spandex and nylon around the body – an idea first proposed by Paul Webb in the 1960s [...]

The team has recently made models of the suit that provide up to 30 kilopascals of pressure – the amount required to be used in space. But they say it will take another 10 years or so of fine-tuning to develop a suit that could be used on space missions.

Previously Louise Riofrio rolled out her team's version of a soft suit, which (thus far) seems to be more advanced than the rest of the competition.

Either way, it is good to seem more companies entering this field, as a comfortable spacesuit is something that NASA needs if it decides to revisit the Moon (and eventually Mars).

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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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