NASA’s Mars mission has been in the spotlight for quite a while now. NASA has unveiled the design of its next prototype spacesuit for these missions. The space suit, named Z-2, allows for better mobility and is more comfortable to wear for extended times.
The suit is specially designed for hostile environments on Mars. Initially, there were three design concepts and a poll was conducted afterwards. The design was finalized on the basis of the results of the poll.
The three designs were termed “technology,” “biomimicry,” and “trends in society.” All of them were designed by suit vendor ILC and Philadelphia University. The polls closed on April 15 and with an overwhelming majority of 63 percent of the ballots, a total of 147,354 individuals voted for “Technology” design and it was declared the winner. The z-2 is the latest prototype from the generation of space suits called Z- series. The Z-2 can be termed as the upgraded version of previous Z-1 series. It has the distinction of being the world’s first “surface-specific planetary mobility suit” tested in space atmosphere. It also has used 3D human laser scans and 3D-printed hardware according to NASA. It leads the way by being the most re-sizeable hard-upper-torso suit created so far in the history of space suits.
Z-1 and Z-2 differ with respect to the composite materials. Z1 had a gentle upper torso, while Z2 has the hard, stiff and durable upper torso. These two also differ when it comes to the shoulder and hip designs. The design of Z-2 was created by keeping total vacuum environment in the mind. NASA intends to conduct a test campaign for Z-2. and this will help NASA to ascertain how it functions in that environment. Neutral Buoyancy Lab will also serve the purpose of testing this design.
NASA’s Z-2 Space-suit is basically a project of the Advanced Exploration Systems Division. AESD is indeed a big name when it comes to research and development of new technologies for future human missions beyond Earth orbit as part of the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate.
“By using Luminex wire and light-emitting patches, this design puts a new spin on spacewalking standards such as ways to identify crew members. The design specifically includes electroluminescent wire and patches across the upper and lower torso, exposed rotating bearings, collapsing pleats for mobility and highlighted movement, and abrasion resistant panels on the lower torso.”