On December 14, 1972, astronaut Eugene Cernan stepped up onto the lunar module, shook the moon dust off these boots, and ended an era of human exploration of the Moon.
As Matt Damon has proved beyond doubt, wandering around on Mars takes one hell of a cool space suit. NASA’s current suits—and suit-testing protocols—aren’t up to snuff, and it wants your help making something better.
Amy Ross is an engineer who has been designing and building new spacesuits for NASA since the ‘90s. We sat down with her to find out what the spacesuits of the future will look like, and what we need to do before our spacesuits can let us live our lives on Mars—and maybe beyond.
These NASA employees may be lying down, but the experience isn't perhaps as relaxing as it looks. This is how the space agency goes about testing spacesuits ahead of launch.
The first factor that needs to be considered in the design of a space suit is "what will the suit be used for?"
If you want to experience what it's like to wear a real-life spacesuit, you can go to one of two places: Russia or Brooklyn. (Or, you know, space.) We took the easy route and recently paid a visit to Final Frontier Design in the Brooklyn Navy yard to try on the outfit of an astronaut.
Is your dog made of tough stuff? Is it calm under pressure? Is it smart, patient and loyal? Then maybe it would make a great space dog—and if so this is just the outfit for your precocious pooch.
NASA's next spacesuit is currently up for public voting—and the weird new designs are unlike anything you've seen from NASA before. Drawing on ideas from bioluminescence, contemporary sportswear, and some speculation on the street fashions of tomorrow, whichever suit gets built will change our image of astronauts…
Before an American even reached space, the public was already asking what would come next. The space age artists and designers who were dreaming up what was in store for the astronauts of tomorrow were happy to oblige.
NASA is currently testing a prototype Z-1 spacesuit that looks more like a horrible, quasi-futuristic Ghostbusters and trash bag mash-up than an awesome suit that's meant to be worn in Space. Why does it look like this? Because NASA has no idea where—Mars, an asteroid, the Moon—it's headed next.
Space suits are unquestionably cool. But testing them seems like it would be dreary, dreary work. Unless your test—presumably the effects of G-forces and, by the looks of it, doing the robot—turns into an avant garde photo shoot capturing the nightmarish essence of the space suit according to Lovecraft, like happened…
The iconic NASA spacesuit didn't show up in astronauts' closets fully formed. Here, a small sampling of the many precursors held with reverence at the Smithsonian Museum.
These shots of gear from the first Apollo moon mission show just how far we have—and haven't—come in the 40 years since man first walked on the moon.