Vote on the Z-2 Spacesuit Prototype design

NASA is collecting votes on the aesthetics of the next edition of the Z-series spacesuit prototypes. With a lot of gortex and electroluminescent wire, the options come straight out of a scifi set.

Alas, this is for the prototype phase, which means it is a non-flight suit that will stay firmly on Earth. The cover layer for non-flight suits serves as abrasion and snag protection, a cover to protect technical details, and aesthetics. When the suits hit final design stage, the cover layer will have to deal with a lot more concerns including thermal, radiation, and micrometeorite protection. These requirements are demanding enough that a lot of the design-details for the prototypes couldn't be included.

Which is even more reason to take advantage of the lessoned requirements of a prototype suit, and embrace an awesome, outrageous design. Once you've picked your favourite style, head to the NASA website to cast your vote.


What Will The Spacesuits Of The Future Look Like? In A Word, Awesome.

The modern spacesuit is a classic, but it can't be denied that it's a little bulky and in need of an update. Enter the Z-2, the new prototype spacesuit that could rule the future — complete with three new design options.

The prototype is set to launch in November 2014, but before it does, the team over at NASA's Johnson Space Center has put out three separate design options — and they're taking votes over the next three weeks to see which one should move on.


Here's a look at all of them, and how they work:

Fight for the user!

NASA/JSC is calling this one "Technology," but I believe I'm going to go ahead and dub this one "Tron" (for obvious reasons). Besides its awesome '80s retro-future aesthetic, the designers suggest that this one would be especially useful for spacewalks, given it's easily visibility and the addition of protective panels along the lower torso.


Under the sea

This design "Biomimicry" takes its space inspiration from another remote, desolate landscape: the ocean floor. Based off of the scales and patterns of fish, this suit includes bioluminescent lighting (not unlike the Tron suit above), but in spindly patterns. It also features pleated seams, which the designers say would help with movement.


Tracksuits on Mars

The final design assumes (wrongly) that spacewalkers of the future might want to embrace a more everyday look. Hence this sportswear-inspired design they're calling "Trends in Society."


It's a valiant effort (featuring the same lighting and pleating features of the previous designs). But really, given the choice between looking like an '80s scifi icon, a space fish, or just some lady in a tracksuit who also happens to be on Mars, I know which one I won't be picking.