NASA is calling on all enthusiasts and fans to vote for the best design of the agency’s next generation spacesuit, with voting taking place online until April 15. The new suits are meant for future missions on planet surfaces, such as Mars, and are designed to be more mobile. Whereas previous NASA suits were big and bulky—suitable for missions in space with no gravity—the next generation suits will allow astronauts to more freely move about. Votes are actually being cast for the outer layer of NASA’s prototype Z-2 spacesuit, which is why the three above look similar.
NASA had previously unveiled its Z-1 suit in 2012, but the Z-2 promises to take a bigger step toward a final flight-capable design, NASA said. The agency explained that the suit will be the first surface-specific planetary mobility suit to be tested in full vacuum, as well as containing the most advanced use of pact resistant composite structures. Going by the Z-1 concept, the suit essentially looks like a heavier fireman outfit, just with a domed helmet instead of a hardhat.
There are three different designs to choose from: Biomimicry, Technology, and Trends in Society. The designs, as NASA explains, are meant to be reflections of their namesake. Biomimicry, for example, is meant to draw “from an environment with many parallels to the harshness of space,” NASA said. “Technology” is meant to pay homage to previous spacesuit designs while looking to the future, while “Trends in Society” is based off what our future clothes may look like.
Biomimicry is the most subtle, while Technology and Trends in Society incorporate bright colors against a muted gray background. Upwards of 80,000 people have voted already, with Technology running out as the early leader—almost 65-percent of the votes.
“The Technology one looks a lot like an old Apollo suit,” said NASA spokesman Dan Huot, speaking with ABCNews. “It kind of has that same general look, except with the addition of the light emitting patches.” The light emitting patches may or may not make it into the final design, Huot said.
NASA’s Z-2 suit is expected to be finished by the end of this year, where it will then undergo rigorous testing. You have until April 15 to cast your vote.
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