NASA's space suit prototype will take us to infinity...and beyond

Z-1 NASA Space Suit
NASA Public Affairs Officer Josh Byerly and Spacesuit Engineer Amy Ross with the Z-1.

To infinity, and beyond! As least, that’s what NASA must think, considering the design of its new Z-1 spacesuit. The prototype comes with a number of neat features to make Buzz Lightyear Aldrin proud.

The white and green suits designed by contractors David Clark Company are good for use in all aspects of NASA space exploration—a one-outfit-suits-all deal—which in turn should help NASA save precious funds. Other than the green strips, another striking element is the large hatch on the back to help you climb in and out of the suit. This also doubles as a dock that attaches you to the side of a shuttle or station—no need for an airlock on the craft.

The Z-1's joints are more flexible than those on previous space suits (which should make it it easier for astronauts to move around) and provides improved radiation protection. They’ll still look a bit like the Marshmallow Man though, seeing as the suits have to carry a certain amount of air for protection against the elements (or lack of!).

Why the green? It appears there’s no real reason for the color, other than to make the suits a little more interesting. David Clark Company also made Felix Baumgartner’s colorful suit for the Red Bull Stratos jump, so there’s no reason why suits have to be a set color.

Of course, overall design might change yet, as the Z-1 is only being used as a test run for the future Z-2 suit. According to Tested, you can expect to see the Z-2 or future editions of the suit in action in around 2017.

[NASA via SlashGear]

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