For the upcoming Artemis missions, NASA’s first attempt at landing astronauts on the moon since 1972, the spacesuit used will see a significant upgrade. The new spacesuit, called the AxEMU (Axiom Extravehicular Mobility Unit), will be more nimble, comfortable, and designed to fit a broader array of body types. In a recent demonstration, the suit’s chief engineer showcased not just the increased mobility provided by the suit but also other interesting features. Let’s explore more about the spacesuit and its advancements in this article.
The Importance of Spacesuits in Space Exploration
Spacesuits play a crucial role in space exploration as they protect astronauts from harsh conditions in outer space, provide a constant supply of air and optimum air pressure, and shield them from space radiation, micrometeorites, and other particles. The suits also protect astronauts from lunar dust, which is considered the “number one environmental problem on the moon” by NASA experts. By allowing astronauts to survive in the harshest conditions of space, spacesuits enable them to perform tasks, carry out experiments, and fulfill the objectives of their mission.
The Limitations of Older Spacesuits
While the Apollo spacesuits worn in the previous moon missions were revolutionary for their time, little has changed in the fundamentals of spacesuits used in spacewalking for the International Space Station. These suits are rigid and uncomfortable to be in, making it difficult for astronauts to move around freely. Even holding things is difficult due to the gloves worn. The suits also balloon when exposed to the vacuum of space, making it difficult for astronauts to move freely.
The Advancements in the New Spacesuit
The AxEMU is designed to address the limitations of older spacesuits. It provides increased mobility, and its design accommodates a broader range of body types, making it more comfortable for astronauts. The large clear bubble around the head provides a wider range of visibility and lighting, which will be essential for studying water ice in shadowed craters near the lunar south pole. The suit’s headpiece also has a mount for a high-definition camera.
The new spacesuit’s increased mobility has not come at the cost of protection. It has been specifically designed to better deal with lunar dust, which is a major problem on the moon’s surface. Additionally, the AxEMU still uses diapers, which is an effective solution for the astronauts’ waste management during their missions.
Category: Science & Technology Current Affairs