Next step for Human Colonization. Build a better suit

Obviously, if we're going to go out into space on a more permanent basis, we need to have suits that will protect us from the environment.  That means not only oxygen, but protection from extremes of temperature and the effect of microgravity.  Until now, we've had "gas bag" type space suits, but there may be something new and more comfortable on the way.

Here's a cool video explaining how a standard spacesuit looks, feels and works:  Efficient but bulky.  (and here's a "fun fact":  one of the most common injuries sustained in EVA suits are hand related, especially fingernails falling off from the trauma of pressure against the hard "thimbles" on the fingertips.  (Good thing my man has nibbled his past the quick.  Point in his favor for astronaut!))

Researchers are looking into an alternative--the Muscular Counterpressure (MCP) suit.  This design has been in the works for at least a decade, and imagined long before that.  (For sci-fi fans, Jerry Pournelle used these suits in Exiles to Glory.)  These suits use the material itself instead of air to provide the pressure to protect you from vacuum.  Here's another cool video explaining it.  And if you really want to know more, you can find a thesis from 2005 here and a recent article here.

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS


Walt said...

Next stop, radiation shielding. (And, course, being able to scratch.)

Walt said...

By the way, the suits were also used in Pournelle and Niven's "Mote in God's Eye" series.

Post a Comment