Online contest will pick NASA’s futuristic new spacesuit design

NASA’s “Technology” spacesuit design is among three options for a planned prototype to be built in November.

NASA’s “Technology” spacesuit design is among three options for a planned prototype to be built in November.

NASA is leaving the design of their next-generation spacesuit prototype up to the public. A contest on the space agency’s website puts three designs up for a vote, with a fully-functional model to be built by November.

The NASA Z-2 suit is a follow up to the Z-1, which Time Magazine named ‘one of the best inventions of 2012.’  The Z-series marks the first major prototype developed since the Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU), the white suits used on space walks during the Shuttle program.

With a long-term focus on deep space missions, NASA will need a new spacesuit to replace its current stock of suits. Some of the technology used in the EMU is 40 years old. The futuristic Z-2 suit will make missions possible to asteroids or the surface of other planets. Some of the improvements under development include: a rear-entry “hatch” that could also dock with a rover, the use of “soft” materials to cut weight and increase mobility, complex joints and a redesigned life support system.

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