Mar.27, 2014

NASA wants your help to pick the design of its Mars-bound space suits.

The space agency has launched an online campaign, asking the public to select the "cover layer" for its prototype Z-2 spacesuit, and you can vote online until April 15.

"The cover layer of a prototype suit is important as it serves to protect the suit against abrasion and snags during the rigors of testing," wrote the suit's designers. The interior of the suit was designed using 3D human laser scans and features 3D-printed hardware.

There are three spacesuit design options to vote for:

The first of the designs is "Biomimicry," which draws inspiration from "an environment with many parallels to the harshness of space: the world's oceans. Mirroring the bioluminescent qualities of aquatic creatures found at incredible depths, and the scaly skin of fish and reptiles found across the globe, this design reflects the qualities that protect some of Earth's toughest creatures." writes NASA.

"The design specifically includes segmented pleats at the shoulder, elbow, hip and knee, and electroluminescent wire across the upper torso, which becomes apparent in reduced light."

The second option looks into the future with a suit called "Technology" which "pays homage to spacesuit achievements of the past while incorporating subtle elements of the future." By using Luminex wire and light-emitting patches, this design could be used to identify crew members during spacewalks, according to NASA. There is a blue electroluminescent "Y" on the chest, reminiscent of a superhero's costume.

In the third option, the designed is called "Trends in Society" which has been designed "off just that: being reflective of what every day clothes may look like in the not too distant future. This suit uses electroluminescent wire and a bright colour scheme to mimic the appearance of sportswear and the emerging world of wearable technologies."

As of March 27, the second option ("Technology") was running away with the vote. It has 65 percent, compared to 13.4 percent for option 3 ("Trends in Society") and 21.6 percent for option 1 ("Biomimicry").

NASA expects the final Z-2 suit to be built by November 2014. It will then undergo rigorous testing in a number of harsh environments.

Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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Randall wrote at 3/28/2014 4:21:29 PM:

The Nasa article says that they are using 3D printed parts inside the suit.

Feign wrote at 3/28/2014 1:24:39 PM:

It might be important to note that the X-2 isn't as "Mars bound" as the article implies. NASA is pretty clear that this series will be for training purposes and gathering data to make future iterations of the X-line of suits. While the line of development might eventually be what goes to Mars, these light-up toy costumes won't even be seeing orbit. That said, I agree with Russ. Nike swoosh (and all the funding that comes with it) would be the best option. If astronaut training got half the public attention that Nascar gets, NASA would be in a much better place. So I'm all for the increase in attention to asthetics... At least on the training suits.

El from LTF wrote at 3/28/2014 8:26:53 AM:

What did you expect, swaggish rags? The second is okay, but this has nothing to do with 3D printing anyway. Why is it even here I dunno.

Russ wrote at 3/28/2014 4:13:17 AM:

If Nike is willing to pay millions for a logo on a golf hat, why are WE NOT taking advantage of corporate funding available, instead of tax dollars?

Bruno wrote at 3/28/2014 3:23:54 AM:

It's not just about colors. The design itself is just totally horrible.

Randall wrote at 3/27/2014 11:18:46 PM:

These all look horrible.

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