Earlier today NASA unveiled its latest spacesuits as part of its Artemis Generation. For whose unfamiliar with the project, it aims to get a team of female astronauts to the Moon by 2024, and these new suits is what they will be wearing when it happens.
The xEMU, as the suit is being called, builds off of the existing design that is already employed by astronauts on the International Space Station. As such, those wanting to see something as radical as the designs that SpaceX has been playing around with are out of luck.
While the spacesuit looks like many of the iterations that have preceded it, NASA explains that this new design features more flexibility than in the past, with it specifically able to twist and bend at the waist, which was not capable previously.
Showcasing the suit was one of the female engineers who was involved with the xEMU design, displaying how much easier it is to get in and out of the suit, which too was an issue with previous designs.
While the spacesuit will be used for a female-led mission to the Moon, NASA explains that the xEMU is not made with specific genders in mind, and has enough space to fit the widest body spectrum that the agency has ever catered for.
This particular issue cropped up when NASA had planned an initial spacewalk earlier this year due to a lack of suit sizes and availability.
In terms of the other elements the xEMU sports, NADA notes that no zippers or cables are present, with the suit completely sealed to protect from the environmental challenges that space presents. Added to this the xEMU can withstand the extreme temperatures of the lunar surface, ranging from 121 degrees to -156 degrees Celsius.
With this latest spacesuit the first major redesign that NASA has done in 40 years, it should be interesting to see what other improvements the agency is planning when its female-led Moon mission departs in 2024.