New Space Suit Concept slims and trims
Seeking to make space suits easier to use and space walks more fashionable, an MIT professor of aeronautics, astronautics and engineering has taken an idea from the sixties that simply needed technology to catch up. The result is a Space suit that and uses modern materials to create a new form fitting and yet functional suit that is on par with it’s bulkier cousins.
Previous versions of an astronaut’s space suit were bulky and difficult to move in due to the protective atmosphere captured by the suit which rendered it difficult to maneuver in due to the pressure of the protective gas bubble that had to be maintained.
However, the Biosuit is designed to replace the pressurization that protects the astronaut’s body from the vacuum of space with a concept called “mechanical counter-pressure,” which is achieved by wrapping the astronaut in several tight layers of Spandex and nylon. The pattern designs of the Biosuit provide a “stiff” kind of exoskeleton that accomplishes the same protective goal as gas pressurization, but also provides maximum flexibility. In addition, the suit will also serve as a resistor for the muscles in the human body, which can lose up to forty percent of their muscle mass while in space.
Another advantage of the mechanical counter pressure concept is that in the event of puncture or tear, a repair can be done on site by wrapped the affected area with a bandage, as the rest of the suit will be unaffected. This will allow astronauts to continue working, rather than retreat to the safer confines of an airlock to change suits or cancel and EVA altogether.
And there are some real world applications for the MIT BioSuit as well, such as athletic training, or even medical applications. Therapists can use the suit to help stimulate muscles in bed bound patients so they don’t atrophy, and also for helping in the therapy of patients learning how to walk again.
Either way, it’s a pretty cool and functional design.