On Tuesday, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has introduced new prototypes of the spacesuits that will be worn by the first woman to walk on the surface of the Moon.
In a ceremony at the space agency’s headquarters, the NASA Chief Jim Bridenstine and Spacesuit Engineers have shared the first close-up look at the second next-generation spacesuits, which was designed for the space agency’s Artemis program, and objected to land the first woman and the next man on the Moon by 2024.
Mr. Bridenstine has announced that “we are going to the Moon by 2024 and want it to be sustainable,” adding that the Moon will be a testing ground to move astronauts to an even further destination.
The NASA Chief continued, “Ultimately the goal is this: we’re going to Mars,” adding that “and in order to go to Mars, we need to use the moon as a proving ground.”
With an aim to reach the objectives, NASA knows that it needs to update its spacesuits so that people of all sizes, shapes, and genders will be able to fly as well as explore the Moon, Mars and beyond.
Mr. Bridenstine has said that “Kristine Davis is wearing a spacesuit that will fit all of our astronauts when we ho to the Moon.” She is a Spacesuit Engineer at the NASA’s Johnson Space Center, who dressed in one of the two prototype suits on stage during the event.
The two spacesuit prototypes that NASA has unveiled are designed for two separate parts of crewed missions to the Moon. The first one is known as the Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit (xEMU) – worn by Ms. Davus, is an amalgamation of the white, red, and blue suit designed to be worn by astronauts about to explore the lunar surface, especially the South Pole – targetted for the next crewed lunar landing.
On Wednesday, the second spacesuit was introduced – the Orion Crew Survival System that is a bring orange pressure suit, which will be worn by astronauts while launching into Space on the Orion Capsule and return back to the Earth. The suit features were explained at the event by NASA Spacesuit Engineer Dustin Gohmert.
While addressing the crowd, Mr. Bridenstine continued that “If we remember the Apollo Generation, we remember Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, they bunny hopped in the surface of the Moon,” adding that “now we’re going to be able to walk on the surface of the Moon, which is very different from the suits of the past”.
Under the Artemis Mission, NASA has also planned to land on the South Pole of the Moon in order to exploit its water ice, which was discovered in 2009, both for purpose of life support and to split into oxygen and hydrogen for use of rocket propellant.
The space agency views its return to the Moon as a manifest ground for an onward mission to Mars in the 2030s.