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NASA Space

NASA Puts Its New Spacesuit Design To a Public Vote 127

An anonymous reader writes "NASA, in collaboration with ILC and Philadelphia University, has designed three different cover layers for its new spacesuit prototype, Z-2. NASA will let the public decide which of the three designs will actually be built. Voting is open through April 15, 2014, at 11:59 p.m. EDT. Here are brief descriptions of the three designs: 'The "Biomimicry" design draws from an environment with many parallels to the harshness of space: the world's oceans. Mirroring the bioluminescent qualities of aquatic creatures found at incredible depths, and the scaly skin of fish and reptiles found across the globe, this design reflects the qualities that protect some of Earth's toughest creatures. ... "Technology" pays homage to spacesuit achievements of the past while incorporating subtle elements of the future. By using Luminex wire and light-emitting patches, this design puts a new spin on spacewalking standards such as ways to identify crew members. ... "Trends in Society" is based off of just that: being reflective of what every day clothes may look like in the not too distant future. This suit uses electroluminescent wire and a bright color scheme to mimic the appearance of sportswear and the emerging world of wearable technologies.'"
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NASA Puts Its New Spacesuit Design To a Public Vote

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  • Wow, timing. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SpectreBlofeld ( 886224 ) on Tuesday March 25, 2014 @11:23PM (#46581069)

    I was working on a personal design project with very similar features, for undersea divers - an electroluminescent (EL) panel or wire system for divers to use to signal each other underwater, even at distances where hand signaling would be an issue. Different colors for different situations, and the ability to 'flash' a sort of morse code communique to one another.

    A diver's illumination would also light up or flash when air reserves reach low levels or the diver is otherwise in distress, so others could recognize the issue and come to aid.

    Feel free to steal the idea and run away with it, if anyone reading this is in the industry. Like I said, it was just a personal design project that I was planning on giving away to improve the general state of things.

  • by WiPEOUT ( 20036 ) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @12:12AM (#46581331)

    Someone mentioned above that the vote has no functional meaning. I disagree.

    The glowing patterns, properly designed, can help astronauts see the relative orientation of other astronauts, particularly in low light situations. The more distinctive yet simple the pattern in terms of placement relative to the body of the wearer, the better. The first option (A) obscures this by not clearly aligning all the luminescent lines with the shape of the human body. For me, this makes "biomimicry" functionally less suitable. The third option (C) has lines on all limbs without much to distinguish between them, meaning that when observing from other orientations, there could be confusion for the observer. Granted, the illumination on the backpack mitigates this at some angles, but the second option (B) has distinctive front and back and clearly shows an observer the orientation of the wearer. Option B looks arguably most functional.

    As an added bonus, the luminescent pattern in option B can also serve to symbolise the origin of the astronauts, in the highly unlikely even they come in contact with another intelligence :) The second option's (B) "technology" pattern on the front approximates the bipedal shape of a human, while the others do not.

  • Pimp my Spacesuit... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by David_Hart ( 1184661 ) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @12:45AM (#46581461)

    You know that the whole Pimp-my-X meme has jumped the shark when NASA scientists think that they need Tron style space suits and that they actually think they look modern and cool...

Nothing is finished until the paperwork is done.