NASA has debuted its next-generation space suits that will be worn by the crew of the Artemis mission to the moon.
The American space agency showed off both a full suit for extra-vehicular activities on the lunar surface and a flight suit for transit in orbit.
The xEMU model provides mobility and flexibility for when exploring the lunar surface and the Orion Crew Survival Suit is to be worn while taking off or landing.
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NASA showed both a full suit for extra-vehicular activities on the lunar surface and a flight suit for transit in orbit. The xEMU (left) model provides mobility and flexibility for when exploring the lunar surface and the Orion Crew Survival Suit is to be worn while taking off or landing
A famous video of Gene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon, is floating around the web that shows the American astronaut bunny hopping across the lunar surface, which is one of the many issues NASA hopes to eliminate with the new design.
Now, the women and men of the Artemis mission will have more freedom to move with NASA’s new design.
The model set to let the crew better explore the surface is called ‘xEMu’ and it looks very similar to the traditional space gear, but is designed with modern technology.
Astronauts will be able to actually walk, not bunny hop like their predecessors, and gives them the ability to bend down and pick things up over their head.
The model set to let the crew better explore the surface is called ‘xEMu’ and it looks very similar to the traditional space gear, but is designed with modern technology. Astronauts will be able to actually walk, not bunny hop like their predecessors, and gives them the ability to bend down and pick things up over their head
Each suit will also come with a pair of gloves that provide finger movement, which was demonstrated in the reveal.
And the gear was developed to withstand the freezing temperatures on the moon
Kristine Davis, an Advanced Space Suit Engineer at NASA and the person who demonstrated the xEMU variant of the suit on stage at the event on Tuesday, that the new design can accommodate anyone from the ‘first percentile female to the 99th percentile male.’
‘We want every person who dreams of going into space to be able to say to themselves, that yes, they have that opportunity,’ she added.
The other suit, called the ‘Orion Crew Survival Suit,’ is a much lighter and was made to be work when astronauts are taking off and landing on the moon.
When in use, this suit depressurizes in order to protect the wearer from accidental depressurization.
Astronauts will be able to actually walk, not bunny hop like their predecessors, and gives them the ability to bend down and pick things up over their head. The helmet has a visor attached, allowing them to easily open the front and fix it if damaged
It was demonstrated by Dustin Gohmert, Project Manager on the Orion crew suit, who explained that it also has thermal protection and radiation protection, though not to the level of the xEMU.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine stated, What NASA has already done is invested in commercial resupply of the International Space Station […] We have invested now in commercial crew.’
‘And in the first part of next year, we’re going to once again launch American astronauts on American rockets from American soil for the first time since the retirement of the Space Shuttles in 2011.’
‘That’s going to be a really positive development for our country, but it’s going to be commercial […] And of course, we want to see a lot of robust commercial habitats in low-Earth orbit as well.’
WHAT IS NASA’S ARTEMIS MISSION TO THE MOON?
Artemis was the twin sister of Apollo and goddess of the Moon in Greek mythology.
NASA has chosen her to personify its path back to the Moon, which will see astronauts return to the lunar surface by 2024 – including the first woman and the next man.
Artemis 1, formerly Exploration Mission-1, is the first in a series of increasingly complex missions that will enable human exploration to the Moon and Mars.
Artemis 1 will be the first integrated flight test of NASA’s deep space exploration system: the Orion spacecraft, Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and the ground systems at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Artemis 1 will be an uncrewed flight that will provide a foundation for human deep space exploration, and demonstrate our commitment and capability to extend human existence to the Moon and beyond.
During this flight, the spacecraft will launch on the most powerful rocket in the world and fly farther than any spacecraft built for humans has ever flown.
It will travel 280,000 miles (450,600 km) from Earth, thousands of miles beyond the Moon over the course of about a three-week mission.
Artemis 1, formerly Exploration Mission-1, is the first in a series of increasingly complex missions that will enable human exploration to the Moon and Mars. This graphic explains the various stages of the mission
Orion will stay in space longer than any ship for astronauts has done without docking to a space station and return home faster and hotter than ever before.
With this first exploration mission, NASA is leading the next steps of human exploration into deep space where astronauts will build and begin testing the systems near the Moon needed for lunar surface missions and exploration to other destinations farther from Earth, including Mars.
The will take crew on a different trajectory and test Orion’s critical systems with humans aboard.
The SLS rocket will from an initial configuration capable of sending more than 26 metric tons to the Moon, to a final configuration that can send at least 45 metric tons.
Together, Orion, SLS and the ground systems at Kennedy will be able to meet the most challenging crew and cargo mission needs in deep space.
Eventually NASA seeks to establish a sustainable human presence on the Moon by 2028 as a result of the Artemis mission.
The space agency hopes this colony will uncover new scientific discoveries, demonstrate new technological advancements and lay the foundation for private companies to build a lunar economy.
‘Ultimately, what that enables us to do is then take the resources that the taxpayers give us, and go to the Moon and on to Mars, always keeping an eye on commercialization even there.’
‘The goal here is to expand humanity further into space than ever before.
In the Anthropometry and Biomechanics Facility at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, astronauts set for the moon will undergo full-body, 3D scans while performing basic motions and postures expected during spacewalks.
With a complete 3D animated model, NASA can match the astronaut to the modular space suit components that will provide the most comfort and the broadest range of motion, while reducing the potential for skin irritation where the suit might press on the body.
NASA is targeting the last half of 2024 for when humans will land near the south pole of the moon.