NASA unveils new spacesuit for Moon mission
No more to bunny hops for NASA astronauts. When US astronauts next touch down on the Moon, expect them to walk almost as they do on Earth. This is thanks to a new generation of spacesuits.
Prototypes of the Orion Crew Survival Suit that will be worn on the journey and the Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit (xEMU) for the lunar surface were unveiled recently. NASA is planning to return to the Moon by 2024.
During the revelation ceremony, spacesuit engineer Kristine Davis wore a pressurized red, blue and white xEMU suit, showing off a vastly improved range of motion thanks to bearings systems on the waist, arms, and legs.
They are also extendable and therefore one-size-fits-all.
Another key innovation is the xEMU’s unlimited capacity to absorb carbon dioxide, a byproduct of respiration that is also poisonous in high quantities.
The crew survival suit, meanwhile, is designed to provide full life support for up to six days — a scenario that could be required, for example, if a meteorite punches a hole in the spacecraft’s hull.
Under the Artemis mission, NASA plans to land on the Moon’s South Pole in order to exploit its water ice, discovered in 2009, both for life support purposes and to split into hydrogen and oxygen for use as rocket propellant.