Heading into the planning stages for an eventual manned mission to Mars, the minds at NASA and the ESA are trying to think outside the box when it comes to the gear we’ll wear on the Red Planet. Turns out they’re thinking way outside the box.
As part of a joint project, the U.S. and European space agencies are working with motorcycle gear company Dainese to design future spacesuits. The project came about because Dainese had been partnering with hospitals to study how the body moved (to better design motorcycle safety gear). NASA thought that data could be useful, so they teamed up (along with MIT) to develop the Biosuit, which was developed last year and keeps the appropriate pressure on the body. Check out our 2014 interview with the MIT designer, Dava Newman, right here.
Well, now they’ve put together a 2.0 version of that suit, at the request of the ESA, which should help keep astronauts from getting injured while in space. Dubbed the Skinsuit, the gear is designed to prevent herniated discs in astronauts. This happens because of the elongating of the spine from the lack of gravity in space, so they’re looking for a way to fix that. If we plan on getting to Mars, the astronauts need to be able to actually stand once they get there, right?
As Jalopnik notes, the majority of the suit is made from a four-way elastic stretch material, while the upper section is rigid. The suit compresses from shoulders to feet to re-create the effects of gravity on the body, which helps prevent the body from being affected by the lack of gravity. For maximum effect, each suit will be specially designed for each astronaut, to ensure the suit is keeping the body balanced.
Along with having some nice safety benefits, the suits are also much more stylish than the old-school suits we’ve been using. Which makes sense, considering a biker gear company was involved.
Check out the BioSuit above, and the Skinsuit below.