Style Meets Function
Boeing has unveiled their new custom tailored spacesuits for astronauts traveling on the Boeing Starliner. There might be a reason they look so cool, and it could involve Stanley Kubrick.
This is because the new spacesuits are eerily reminiscent of those shown in the 1968 sci-fi classic, 2001: A Space Odyssey.
The new suits do look pretty awesome, but there's a lot more to them than just their looks. “The most important part is that the suit will keep you alive,” said astronaut Eric Boe. “It is a lot lighter, more form-fitting and it’s simpler, which is always a good thing. Complicated systems have more ways they can break, so simple is better on something like this.”
Some of the new features of the suits include an integrated helmet complete with a communications headset, touch-screen sensitive gloves, built-in ventilation, and the ability to pressurize should conditions call for it. Richard Watson, subsystem manager for spacesuits for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, said that the suits aren't currently needed on the Starliner but are definitely good to have in case of an emergency.
More Humans in Space
There is a great deal that we can learn about space from unmanned missions, but even more can be gained when actual humans make these voyages. With hopes of putting humans on Mars at an all-time high, we need as much experience as possible in understanding how humans can survive outside of our home planet.
NASA sees immense value in human space exploration. "Human space exploration helps to address fundamental questions about our place in the Universe and the history of our solar system. Through addressing the challenges related to human space exploration we expand technology, create new industries, and help to foster a peaceful connection with other nations."
A space race fueled great scientific strides last century. Now, a less contentious, more cooperative international efforts could push humanity to even greater heights.