Images via NASA
The Anthropometry and Biomechanics facility at NASA has revealed details on their newest design, a space suit fit for a trip to Mars. In an open vote, the public was given three choices to choose from; Biomimicry suit, inspired by deep ocean creatures, Trends In Society, reflective of sporting clothes, and Technology, said to pay "homage to the spacesuit achievements past and [incorporates] subtle elements of the future." Taking 63% of the total vote, “Z-2 Technology” has been chosen to join the ranks of Gemini, Apollo and our current Shuttle and Space Station suits, and from the sounds coming off their blog, NASA engineers are ready for the change:
“We, the space suit engineers, have found ourselves with another exciting opportunity: the chance to make a suit with a look unlike any suit ever built before.”
It’s true; the Z-2 looks less like the space suits that came before it than Robby the Robot, if he were to make a cameo in a Tron Sequel. Previous designs, being decades old, were crafted for gravity-less floatation, and for working on the exteriors of space shuttles, but in a time of new discoveries, it's high time we got a new spacesuit. The new Z-2, in this case, was crafted for walking on extraterrestrial planets.
Z-2 Technology gives us more than just the crowd's choice. From an engineering perspective, the suit is packed; outfitted with Luminex wire and patches for increased visibility of crewmembers, 3D-printed hardware ergonomically designed for each individual astronaut, surface-specific planetary mobility, impact resistant composite structures, and a rear entry design, in the words of NASA, this thing is all "suitport-compatability" (a function whereby the suit attaches directly to a pressurized cabin, allowing astronauts to bypass tricky airlocks). NASA aims to have the Z-2 ready for testing in November, in order to prep for the final suit's first launch come 2018.