TECH

Nasa's New Z-2 Spacesuit Design Is All Up To You But The Options Are Naff

26/03/2014 09:18 GMT | Updated 26/03/2014 09:59 GMT

When Nasa showed us its new Z-1 space suit the fact it looked pretty much exactly like Buzz Lightyear's was one of the best things about it.

Turns out thought the luminous green ringlets were purely to highlight certain areas in testing, not a homage to Pixar.

But the final look of the Z-2 version of the suit is yet to be decided and you get to choose (click here to vote).

Nasa has whittled it down to three possible choices...

z2

'Biomimicry', 'Technology' and 'Trends in Society'

Now, Nasa have never been known for their fashion sense but here's some blurb about the thinking behind each one...

The "Biomimicry" design draws from an environment with many parallels to the harshness of space: the world's oceans. Mirroring the bioluminescent qualities of aquatic creatures found at incredible depths, and the scaly skin of fish and reptiles found across the globe, this design reflects the qualities that protect some of Earth's toughest creatures.

"Technology" pays homage to spacesuit achievements of the past while incorporating subtle elements of the future. By using Luminex wire and light-emitting patches, this design puts a new spin on spacewalking standards such as ways to identify crew members.

"Trends in Society" is based off of just that: being reflective of what every day clothes may look like in the not too distant future. This suit uses electroluminescent wire and a bright color scheme to mimic the appearance of sportswear and the emerging world of wearable technologies.

The new Z-2 suit is designed to be lighter, more manoeuvrable and more flexible than the old suit.

It is the first big overhaul since 1998, and could be the first glimpse of what astronauts look like when they return to the surface of the Moon - or head to Mars.

Nasa said one of the key differences was that the new suit has a one-piece design, into which the wearer crawls in through a hole in the back, as opposed to the trousers-top-helmet version currently in use on the International Space Station.

The suit negates the need for an airlock - long a staple of spaceflight in science fiction and science fact.

In fact the suit can be housed in space or the outside of a rover vehicle permanently - the astronaut crawls in and then the suit detaches from the side of the craft.

Learn about how NASA is developing a new spacesuit for exploring the moon and Mars, in this SPACE.com infographic.
Source SPACE.com: All about our solar system, outer space and exploration