as a weekly practice I listen to npr and do a little sketch on one of the stories. take a look, you can click on the illustration to make it bigger!

Friday, June 13, 2008

nasa's future spacesuits are made for walking

The next astronauts to step out onto the dusty gray surface of the moon will be wearing a suit that's very different from the bulky white armor worn by the Apollo explorers. NASA has selected the company that will be designing and constructing the spacesuits for its Constellation program, which is building a new spacecraft to take astronauts back to the moon by 2020.

NASA awarded the contract, worth up to $745 million, to Oceaneering International Inc. of Houston. "We're ready to put them to work and get ready to put bootprints back on the moon," says Glenn Lutz, NASA's project manager for Extravehicular Activity Systems at Johnson Space Center in Houston.Lutz said that the current suits worn by spacewalking astronauts on the space shuttle and international space station "do great, but they are built for floating in space."

He says moon explorers need to be able to climb ladders, walk long distances and scramble over rocks. That's especially important because NASA wants future moonwalkers to spend far more time roaming about than the Apollo astronauts did during their short visits. Eventually, a moon base could let explorers live on the moon for weeks or months. The new suits should allow far more natural movement than suits did in the Apollo era.

-excerpt from npr

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