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Future Tech: 

Nasa’s Mars spacesuit is certainly different

New Nasa spacesuit is certainly different

Yup, looking pretty darn cool…

Everyone’s favourite space agency Nasa has been showcasing its unique new suit for the first ever manned trip to Mars. What do you think?

Who decided on the design?

The Z-2 spacesuit beat two other designs with a 63 percent majority of a public vote of 233,431. Still only a prototype, and expected to be ready for testing by November 2014, elements of it will feature in the final outfit worn by the Red Planet’s first human explorers.

The Z-2 will be built using 3D laser scans to make sure each suit fits its astronaut perfectly. It will be tested in Nasa’s pool – to mimic spacewalking – and in vacuum chambers. It will also be tested on a surface that imitates the rocky floor of Mars.

Spacesuit glow body

The first time electroluminescence has been used on a spacesuit.

The front is quite jazzy, isn’t it?

The prototype also employs electroluminescent wiring, never before seen in a spacesuit. The designs were produced in collaboration with ILC Dover, the primary suit vendor, and Philadelphia University. Nasa said that as well as being aesthetically pleasing, the cover layer of a spacesuit used for spacewalks, “Performs many other important functions like protecting the spacewalker from micrometeorite strikes, the extreme temperatures in space and the harmful effects of radiation.”

Spacesuit 2 body

The Z-2 definitely doesn’t look anything like a giant armadillo.

The other designs that didn’t make the cut on the catwalk were a “bio-mimicry” suit, which mirrored the bioluminescence of aquatic creatures and the scaly skins of fish (we’re not making this up) and a “trends in society” suit, which reflected what clothes may look like in the future – vital for impressing the inhabitants of Mars.

What the Martians will make of the Z-2 is anybody’s guess. Let’s just hope we don’t get laughed right out of space…

Photos: NASA

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This spacesuit looks a bit silly.
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