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NASA unveils new spacesuit for Artemis moon mission astronauts

A spacesuit similar to the one that will be worn by Artemis astronauts on the moon, but coloured black instead of white

Axiom Space

NASA has revealed the spacesuits that astronauts will wear on the moon for the upcoming Artemis lunar missions, including the first lunar spacesuit for a woman.

“We have not had a new suit since the suits that we designed for the Space Shuttle, and those suits are currently in use on the space station — so for 40 years we’ve been using the same suit based on that technology,” said Vanessa Wyche at NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, at a press conference.

The new suit, which was built by the private company Axiom Space for NASA, is designed to withstand the harsh environment of the lunar south pole, where temperatures average around −13°C (9°F), but can dip hundreds of degrees lower in craters that are in permanent shadow.

It will also have improved mobility over previous suits, weighing in at 55 kilograms, around 25 kilograms lighter than the spacesuits worn by the Apollo astronauts, and with more custom joints for a greater range of motion. As the suit has so many joints, it can’t be taken on and off easily — astronauts will need to climb through a hatch at the back of the suit to enter.

The suit also features a panel of torches above the helmet for operating tools and scientific instruments in low light, as well as an HD camera so people on Earth can watch what astronauts are doing.

Axiom employed a costume designer from the Apple TV sci-fi series For All Mankind for the visual appearance of the suit, but there will be one difference between the displayed suit and the real thing: all the black sections will be white, in order to reflect heat and keep the astronauts at the right temperature.

If all goes according to schedule, NASA’s Artemis 3 mission will land the first female and non-white astronauts on the moon in 2025. Space exploration, especially on the moon, has historically been almost exclusively by white men. Until last year, for example, the specific radiation risk for women had never been studied.


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