NASA unveils new spacesuit designs for next lunar mission
WASHINGTON — NASA has unveiled next generation spacesuits for the space agency's 2024 Artemis III lunar mission.
One of the spacesuits, called the Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit, or xEMU, will allow for an increased range of movement for the arms, wrists, hips and knees while astronauts are on the lunar surface as the suit uses bearings instead of zippers.
The xEMU spacesuit features a backpack called the Portable Life Support System, similar to the one used during the Apollo moon landing missions in the 1960s and 1970s.
According to NASA's website, the spacesuit's communication system inside the helmet has been redesigned to include multiple microphones on the inner part of the upper torso that will automatically be activated as the astronaut speaks.
NASA says the new spacesuits will allow astronauts to perform longer spacewalks, withstand moon dust and the moon's extreme temperatures ranging from negative 250 degrees to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
The space agency said the increased mobility of the astronauts is to perform different scientific tasks such as analyzing moon rocks or planting scientific instruments.
Though one thing remains the same.
Astronauts will still be required to wear a diaper-like garment during long spacewalks just in case they need to relieve themselves.
NASA also debuted its second spacesuit, called the Orion Crew Survival System, which will be used by astronauts during launch and reentry in the Orion spacecraft.
The suit features a lighter helmet which connects to the communications system more easily, improved thermal protection and a new interface that removes carbon dioxide and supplies air to the crew members wearing the suit.
NASA says each astronaut will have a customized spacesuit to ensure a better fit and a better range of motion.
These lunar missions are part of NASA's plan to eventually make its way from the moon to Mars in order for humans to explore the red planet.