NASA has shown off a new generation of spacesuits tailored for future moonwalking astronauts.
On Tuesday, NASA unveiled two new spacesuits for the upcoming Artemis mission, scheduled to lift off for the moon in 2024. The modern, capable suits match the space agency’s updated vision for a moon mission that is all-inclusive, and one that celebrates private, as well as international, partnerships.
At NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C., NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine was joined onstage by spacesuit engineers Kristine Davis, wearing the Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit (xEMU), and Dustin Gohmert, who was wearing the Orion Crew Survival System.
Davis demonstrated the added mobility that the new suit provides, rotating her shoulders, wiggling her fingers, and bending down to pick up a moon rock prop and awkwardly handing it to Bridenstine before walking offstage.
The 1st woman and next man will go to the Moon in 2024 👩🚀👨🚀
Today, we previewed the next-generation #Artemis spacesuits that our astronauts will wear – 1 for launch and re-entry, and 1 for exploring the lunar South Pole. Watch a recap: https://t.co/e4cxB3rK6e pic.twitter.com/PtYSLqHq62
— NASA (@NASA) October 16, 2019
According to NASA, the suit, which can be considered a “personalized spaceship,” is a guard against pretty much any perceivable test the unforgiving expanse around the Moon can throw at it. Some of the suit’s impressive features include the ability to withstand temperatures from minus 250 degrees Fahrenheit to 250 degrees Fahrenheit (which will both occur on the Moon’s shaded and unshaded surfaces), a set of voice-activated microphones in the suit, and filters for the Moon’s soil, which is apparently made up of “tiny glass-like shards.” There is also a “diaper-like garment” in the suit, although NASA says astronauts prefer not to use it unless necessary.