NASA has unveiled the public’s choice for the next prototype design for a suit to be used if and when man lands on Mars.
Nearly 400,000 website visitors chose among a range of designs for the Z-2 spacesuit, with 63 percent opting for the “Technology” option. It’s eerily reminiscent of the design of the suit worn by the Sontaran in Doctor Who.
The actual design of the suit was the same in all three available options: the only difference was the colors involved.
The idea is to produce a suit that works well both in space and on the surface of the moon or Mars. It’ll be the first suit that is tested in a total vacuum.
In comparison to the previous stage of design, the Z-1, the new suit has a much harder torso, has boots more suited to use in space, and has improved shoulder and hip joints based on the resuls from testing the Z1.
As you might expect from futuristic technology, the Z-2 will be partially 3D printed and based on 3D bodyscans to make it a custom fit for specific astronauts. The blue sections of the suit will light up and the idea is to use different colored lights to make it easy to identify individual astronauts.
Although the Z-2 will be manufactured for testing starting from November, it will never actually make it into space. Instead the test results will help influence the design of the Z-3, the next stage in a process that will likely repeat for at least a couple of decades before any Mars mission.