NASA wants your help in deciding which of 3 different designs of spacesuits should be used in the next launch. It’s been quite a while since the spacesuit got a makeover, they have developed a new prototype know as the Z-2.
The 3 different designs of the Z-2 will available for voting until April 15. Since becoming the unfortunate victim of budget cuts, NASA has become creative enough to outsource many of its requirements. By making use of the crowd-sourcing capability offered via the world wide web, the world of space exploration is now much more open for anyone to contribute without being an aeronautical engineer.
The suits were developed by NASA in conjunction with design students at the University of Philadelphia, and manufacturer ILC Dover in Delaware. It is not the suit itself, where you help is needed, but with the skin that covers the suit and it appears that the public is happy to oblige. Almost 100,000 people have already cast their votes for the Z-2, which may not yet be a fashion statement, will much easier to get into, and out of than its predecessor, the Z-1, which offered increased protection from radiation. It is also will be much easier to wear, according to NASA spokesman, Dan Huot.
The design of the current suits are more than 3 decades old, and space travel has changed a lot since then. The atmospheric conditions on Mars calls for suits that offer more protection, even though there is far less concern for gravity in Space, and NASA wants your help in choosing the new design. There are 3 different designs on which the public is invited to vote.
The Technology design which has received up 65% of the vote is similar to the Z-1 in appearance, but features some areas with light-emitting areas on the upper body
The Biomimicry was designed to pay tribute to the ocean and features lighten lines that evoke the bio-luminescence produced by many deep-sea creatures, such as the Lanternfish and some species of jellyfish.
The final choice pays tribute to societal trends, and designers say that it represents what clothes may look like in the future. With brighter colors, and contrasting stitches, the suit called Trends in Society, gives a nod the wearable technologies with tear-drop on the upper body portion, and looks much like the apparel worn by today’s athletes.
The Z-2 incorporates a few new accomplishments for the space exploration agency as it the first suit for exploration that was tested in a vacuum, and made use of impact resistant composite materials. It was also the first suit that made use of 3-D printing . NASA has admitted that the spacesuits were in urgent need of design, as the defective model was responsible for the abandonment of a spacewalk in the International Space Station, when water has leaked into the suits of one of the astronauts.
The final version of the Z-2 prototype should be built in the fall of this year 2014, and will undergo some rigorous testing that mimics environmental conditions on the surface of the planet Mars. By soliciting the help of the public in choosing the new spacesuits, it is hoped that more people will become interested in space exploration.
Written By Dale Davidson