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NASA Space Science Technology

Next-Gen Spacesuits 123

ambermichelle writes "Outer space is a hostile environment for humans, characterized by an airless vacuum, thermal extremes, ionizing radiation and speeding micro meteoroids. Less well-known are the dangers posed by long-term exposure to microgravity or zero-g conditions, which over time severely saps the strength of astronauts' muscles and bones. Several researchers are working to develop new spacesuit designs that could help counteract these threats as well as avoid some of the familiar drawbacks of current spacesuit models such as bulk, weight and rigidity."
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Next-Gen Spacesuits

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  • by Fned ( 43219 ) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @09:35PM (#38910837) Journal

    Oh, and from the article that pic is from:

    Bio-Suit is a space activity suit under development at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which as of 2006[update] consists of several lower leg prototypes. Bio-suit is custom fit to each wearer, using laser body scanning.

  • by wisebabo ( 638845 ) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @10:21PM (#38911087) Journal

    Unfortunately it looks like the human species (and maybe most multicellular animals!) is just not suited for long duration space flight and maybe even habitation of other (lesser gravity) worlds. []

    If this turns out to be true (I know they are using fruit flies but Drosphilia are a good proxy for humans for many things) then we're going to have very serious problems in doing anything other than "plant the flag" style missions. At what point is there "enough" gravity to allow the proper development of a human fetus? Half a gravity? A third? (Mars). A sixth? (the moon). That's why probably the single most important next step for manned space flight is probably the addition of a large (capable of handling mice, preferably primates) centrifuge to the ISS. I recall that it was once meant to be part of it but was cancelled. WE NEED THESE QUESTIONS ANSWERED.

    And if the news is bad and humans can't go through a complete life cycle in anything appreciably less than one gee? Then it's time to hack the genome and (possibly) create a new species! While we're at it, we might as add ability to withstand brief (1-2 minutes?) exposure to vacuum (I understand that oxygen comes out of your blood quickly and you can't hold your breath because your lungs will burst. So you pass out in seconds). Also, radiation hardening would be good (some animals like tardigrads can take thousands of times more exposure). The ability to hibernate would be great and I'm sure there are a lot more abilities we could wish for.

    In short maybe Homo Astra (or something like that, I don't know Latin).

    Otherwise our robots will conquer the universe without us (or at least until we can download our minds into them).

  • Re:Not the answer (Score:4, Informative)

    by sjames ( 1099 ) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @11:13PM (#38911401) Homepage Journal

    For one, the structure is launched in segments. For another, it only has to be strong along it's major axis for launch, but for centrifugal gravity, it must be strong radially from it's axis.

  • by zill ( 1690130 ) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @11:47PM (#38911615)
    Insightful? I hope you realize that Earth's orbit will be engulfed by the Sun in a few billion years. Not leaving the planet = extinction.
  • Re:Not the answer (Score:5, Informative)

    by Seraphim1982 ( 813899 ) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @11:57PM (#38911663)

    (as an aside, I have to admit that if I was on the Apollo 10 mission and everything was working out, I'd be tempted to yell "Fuck you, Neil!" into my radio and land on the Moon. What's NASA gonna do?)

    Watch as you die on the moon because the ascent stage lacked the fuel needed to return the Lunar Module to the Command Module from the surface of the moon.

Exceptions prove the rule, and wreck the budget. -- Miller