The big, puffy white moonsuits worn by Neil Armstrong and his fellow Apollo astronauts half a century ago are out of fashion. Lunar high fashion now calls for something more form-fitting and comfortable for both men and women.
NASA on Wednesday unveiled the first prototype of a new next-generation spacesuit specially designed and accessorized for the first astronauts who are expected to return to the surface of the Moon in the next few years.
The latest in moon wear was presented at the Johnson Space Center in Houston during an event for media and students hosted by Axiom Space, the Texas-based company contracted by NASA to build suits for Artemis, the successor to the Apollo Moon program.
THE Mission Artemis 1The maiden launch of NASA’s powerful next-generation rocket and its newly built Orion spacecraft on an uncrewed test flight around the moon and back, was successfully completed in December.
NASA and the Canadian Space Agency plan to announce the four astronauts chosen to fly next year on Artemis 2, another round-trip mission.
This theft, if successful, will pave the way for a planned expedition of astronauts Artemis 3 on the lunar surface – the first ever at the moon’s south pole – later in the decade. It will be the first to send a woman to walk on the moon.
NASA promises future Artemis missions will include the first person of color on the moon.
The program, named after Apollo’s twin sister from Greek mythology, ultimately aims to establish a sustainable lunar base as a stepping stone to future human exploration of Mars.
NASA chief Bill Nelson said the new spacesuits “will open up opportunities for more people to explore and conduct scientific research on the moon than ever before.”
All 12 NASA astronauts who landed on the moon during a total of six Apollo missions from 1969 to 1972 were white men.
The outfits worn on the moon by the astronauts of Artemis will be very different from the cumbersome spacesuits of yesteryear.
Referred to by Axiom as the “Axiom Extravehicular Mobility Unit,” or AxEMU for short, the new suits are more streamlined and flexible than the older Apollo suits, with a greater range of motion and greater variability in size and shape. adjustment.
They are designed to fit a wide range of potential wearers, accommodating at least 90% of the U.S. male and female population, NASA said. They will also incorporate advances in life support systems, compression garments and avionics.
The precise look of the costumes, however, remained a closely guarded trade secret. Those on display came with a charcoal gray outer layer with orange and blue accents and Axiom’s logo on the chest – intended to hide Axiom’s proprietary outer fabric design.
The company said suits for astronauts to wear on the lunar south pole will be white because it is the best color to reflect sunlight onto the moon’s surface and protect the wearer from extreme heat.