On Tuesday October 15th, NASA unveiled the space suit prototypes that will eventually be worn by the first woman on the moon. The Artemis program, named after the Greek goddess of the moon, will send the first woman and next man to the moon by 2024.
According to Nasa chief Jim Birdenstine, “Ultimately the goal is this: We’re going to Mars … and in order to go to Mars, we need to use the moon as a proving ground”. Part of the Artemis program includes the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway. This will be a large station around the moon that would allow for scientific experiments. Astronomers will require suits with greater mobility and more advanced technology than those used on the last mission to the moon, the Apollo program in 1972.
Two suit prototypes were shown on Tuesday: an Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit (xEMU) and an Orion Crew Survival System. The first is specifically designed for astronauts who are exploring the moon’s south pole. The second is designed to be worn during the launch into space and the return to Earth. The xEMU suits will be made in a wider variety of sizes, and allow for more torso movement, which astronaut Kate Rubins believes is an important feature. The legs on this suit are also designed in a way that makes walking on the moon’s surface easier for astronauts. An exciting feature of the Orion suit is that it can pressurize in case of an emergency!
More information about the new spacesuits and the Artemis program: