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A new spacesuit designed for NASA’s next moonwalk.



written by Meghan Marples CNN

Humans have been exploring the endless abyss above Earth’s atmosphere for more than half a century.

When astronauts explore the vastness of space They need to wear high-tech space suits to protect them from the frigid conditions of the universe.

Hollywood movies dazzled with the iconic suit. The design made many people believe it was a dress that could be worn in minutes.

said Cathleen Lewis, curator of the International Space and Spacesuit Program at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum.

“The purpose of a spacesuit is to exist, essentially, a humanoid spaceship. This allows humans to explore and perform meaningful tasks on their own. beyond the convenience of a spacecraft or space station,” Lewis said.

from start to finish It can take up to four hours for the astronauts to get dressed, Lewis said, before they set off into space. The astronauts must inspect each piece of equipment and make sure there are enough necessary supplies, such as oxygen and water.

throughout the space travel process The return-to-Earth ground team has supported astronaut Sarah Korona, EVA flight controller at NASA̵

7;s Johnson Space Center in Houston, who said the flight controllers were following a procedural plan that was about 30 pages long, but had Another plan is in place if a problem arises. “EVA” stands for off-road activity.

anatomy of a space suit

NASA says the spacesuit is made up of different components. almost half a dozen and can have up to 16 floors

Astronauts on the Artemis mission, NASA’s next project to send the first woman and first woman of color to the moon. It will wear the latest spacesuit called the Exploration Expeditionary Force, known as xEMU, before it reaches the moon. Those parts will be tested on the International Space Station.
NASA reveals ground prototypes of its new Ex-Exploration Exploration Unit (xEMU) in 2019 at NASA's Washington headquarters.

NASA reveals ground prototypes of its new Ex-Exploration Exploration Unit (xEMU) in 2019 at NASA’s Washington headquarters. credit: Joel Kowsky/NASA

Richard Rhodes, deputy head of development of xEMU pressure rigging at NASA, said one of the key components is the heat sink. The clothing is made of tubes that circulate water around the astronauts, regulating their body temperature and removing excess heat when they’re done.

Each spacesuit has a portable life support system. This includes a water tank for cooling clothes. Carbon Dioxide Removal Systems, etc. According to NASA, this component also includes a two-way radio system to enable astronauts to communicate with each other.

The original spacesuit used in the Apollo missions was less flexible than the current one.

“When the Apollo astronauts walked on the moon They can’t bend over to pick up rocks,” said NASA astronaut Mike Fincke. “They have to have a little extra tool with a handle on them.”

Fortunately, space suits have come a long way since then and are more flexible construction with gloves.

Gloves are one of the most complex parts of a spacesuit. And it’s often the biggest source of complaints astronauts have about their suits, Lewis said.

“Gloves are designed to be extremely protective. And it also allows astronauts to do meaningful work,” she said.

Pressure gloves can feel retracted. Especially after working in space for hours, she said, their fingers were cold too. Therefore, the heating element must be built into the glove.

This glove is part of NASA's offshore mobility unit, the technical term for spacesuits.

This glove is part of NASA’s offshore mobility unit, the technical term for spacesuits. credit: NASA

When astronauts train to go to space One of their drills included picking up a dime in their spacesuits while underwater, Lewis said. These explorers need extreme maneuverability when working in space. And the gloves were an added challenge.

Most of the astronauts’ spacesuit training is in a pool at NASA’s Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory in Houston. Water simulates a feeling of weightlessness similar to the feeling of space.

Scientists have experimented with different materials and with varying degrees of success over the years. at one point Lewis said the researchers tested the gloves with Kevlar fingertips.

“Kevlar is very good at stopping bullets. But can’t stop the knife very well. It was easy to cut,” she said.

Today, astronauts use synthetic plastic gloves. But scientists are always looking for better options, Lewis added.

The outside of the space suit has a specific color band for each suit. This is how astronauts can tell who is in each suit when in space, Lewis said.

This tried and true system will be used for the Artemis spacesuit, Rhodes confirmed.

Make an Artemis space suit.

The first step in designing a space suit is “Understand who you are designing the dress for. What do you want them to do? And where do you want them to do it?” Rhodes said.

For Project Artemis, NASA wants astronauts to be able to safely explore the lunar surface.

Over the past four years, NASA has invested more than $300 million in the development of the xEMU, Rhodes said. His team tested dozens of components and weighed the pros and cons of each option.

He said the biggest challenge for the Artemis series was making sure they were optimized for lunar exploration.

The suit must be “light enough to support lunar missions and strong enough to protect astronauts while working in the extremely dangerous environment of the moon,” Rhodes said.

Rhodes said there were thousands of parts used in the production of the Artemis spacesuit and that the parts were sourced from all over the United States. Some of them could take up to a year to build, but NASA is working on shortening the time, he added.

The space suit will receive some upgrades for the latest lunar missions. Off-vehicle mobile units, both today and in the past. The spacesuit, the technical term for NASA’s spacesuit, allows for minimal movement of the waist, hips or ankles, Rhodes said.

Astronauts on the Artemis mission needed more mobility. So they can explore the rough terrain of the moon, he said, so his team is creating outfits that will allow more movement while still being tough enough to protect the wearer.


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