NASA tests new Moon suits underwater
The date is fixed, the astronauts are selected, the ship is in order, and the suit is made. So of course, it’s time to test the waters. Literally! The US space agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has started testing the spacesuits which its astronauts would wear when they land on the Moon more than 50 years after first landing.
The trials are going on at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. The engineers can be seen walking at the bottom of a pool in several metres of water. The tests – which include practising picking up Moon rocks and planting an American flag – help astronauts prepare for working in low-gravity conditions.
NASA’s next crewed lunar mission is called Artemis and will mark the first time people have landed on the Moon in nearly 50 years. Two suits designed for moonwalks were shown off by NASA last year that allow for extra movement on the lunar surface.
Called the Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit (xEMU), the spacesuit needs to protect astronauts from the harsh environment of the lunar surface, which is quite different from that astronauts have been exploring for the past few decades in low Earth orbit.