NASA is working on the newest prototype for its next-generation spacesuit and the US space agency is letting the public vote online for the design they like best.
The three designs for NASA’s Z-2 suit have been produced in partnership with suit vendor ILC and Philadelphia University.
In a first for NASA, the Z-2 suits have been created with 3D human laser scans and 3D-printed hardware. The suits have also been designed with mobility features to help in the testing of the suit, and a cover layer has been developed to protect the suits from snags and scratches.
NASA said it expects to have a fully built Z-2 suit by November, but in the meantime, the public has until 15 April at 11.59pm EDT (16 April at 4.59am, Irish time) to vote for either the ‘Biomimicry’, ‘Technology’ or ‘Trends in Society’ design.
The ‘Biomimicry’ design draws from the world’s oceans, NASA said. “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,” said NASA. “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’
Trends in Society is based on what every day clothes may look like in the near future, said NASA. “This suit uses electroluminescent wire and a bright colour scheme to mimic the appearance of sportswear and the emerging world of wearable technologies.”