If everything goes according to plan, we’ll be going to Mars in the mid 2030s – using these suits.
NASA is adamant about their mission to Mars – they’ve already started recruiting astronauts for the case, but before they start the training, they want to know what the lucky people will wear; it’s not a fashion statement, it’s a vital part of the mission.
The Z-2 suit is a technology demonstrator for a planetary surface suit; it’s designed to improve astronaut productivity as much as possible and not hinder their work – exploring, collecting samples, and maneuvering in and out of habitats and rovers. However, the suit doesn’t only have to be light-weight and manoeuvrable, but also sturdy, withstanding the harsh conditions on the Red Planet.
NASA also went for a one-size-fits-all approach, with adjustable shoulder and waist sizing so that as many astronauts as possible can fit in as many costumes as possible.
The technology is also revolutionary in that it could be 3D printed in space or even on Mars, to achieve a customized fit for any crew member or change the orientation of bearings to optimize mobility.