SubscriptionsGo to the Subscriptions Centre to manage your:My ProfileA futuristic space suit decorated with glowing geometric designs is NASA’s latest prototype in series that its astronauts ultimately expect to wear on Mars.The new Z 2 was the winning suit in a public vote among three designs, NASA announced Wednesday. Sixty two per cent of voters picked the design emphasizing “technology” in its look, helping it beat the nature inspired “biomimicry” option and the “trends in society” option intended to look more like “everyday clothes” of the future.Chris Hadfield on building a better space suitThe glowing designs on the suit may help crew members identify each other during spacewalks. (NASA)The Z 2 is the second in a series of space suits designed with the goal of developing technology that “one day will be used in a suit worn by the first humans to step foot on the Red Planet.” Such a suit needs to be able to protect astronauts both during spacewalks and other excursions in space en route to Mars, and on the planet’s surface, as they explore its rocky terrain.The Z 2 builds on the technology of its predecessor the Z 1, unveiled in 2012, but has:A more durable hard upper torso with abrasion resistant panels on the lower half, instead of the soft torso of the Z 1.More advanced shoulder and hip joints to improve mobility, including exposed rotating bearings and collapsing pleats.Electroluminescent wiring and patches on the torso that make it glow and may help crew members identify each other during spacewalks.Boots more similar to those found on a “suit ready for space.”Materials that can survive the full vacuum of space.”Because the Z series is still in the prototype, or non flight, phase, the design won’t be making a trip to space,” NASA said in a news release.The suit lacks some features that space ready suits have, such as the materials and design elements needed to protect spacewalking astronauts from extreme temperatures, harmful radiation and micrometeorite strikes in space.
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