Elon Musk Shows Off Snazzy New Space Suits

first_imgMusk is dead-on, too. Many at NASA have previously complained about difficult it can be to design a space suit. Space is probably the most inhospitable environment we can imagine, and outside of being teleported to the center of the sun, there’s not much that would kill you faster than an unprotected trip to space. At the same time, astronauts are often symbols to the world. They are, for many, very visible heroes. Titans of science, intrepid explorers willing to brave the dangers of extraordinary journeys out into the black. Because of that, there’s a strong case to be made for space suits that look good — you want people to look at these things and imagine themselves wearing one in the future. That pushes more people into STEM and helps us shore up the next wave of brave minds.That’s the hope, anyway. While lofty, all of that would be useless if the astronauts died because their outfit was little more than a jazzed-up Flash Gordon jacket. Space suits have to provide excellent climate control depending upon whether the wearer is in direct sunlight or not — and that can be a difference of hundreds of degrees. Musk’s design isn’t quite built to handle that, though. These aren’t made for space walks and instead made to protect their wearers from depressurization of the spacecraft. In essence, they’re full-body, more advanced versions of the little masks that drop down in airplanes when things get rough.Even so, it’s no cakewalk. Pressure, for example, is still a huge challenge. All other challenges aside, just being exposed to a hard vacuum will knock you out in seconds, and then kill you when your blood runs out of its dissolved oxygen. Even if you do survive, you’ll have severe injuries from your skin being stretched, not to mention the total… ahem… evacuation of your digestive tract. It’s not fun. At all. Don’t go to space without protection. Please.If you’re going to be flying on a SpaceX rocket soon, though, (I believe there’s like six of you on Earth), then you’ll be pleased to know that the company’s suits have been tested, look great, and are ready to go. Then again, I suppose if you’re flying with SpaceX soon, you probably helped test the suits so you wouldn’t need me to tell you.For the rest of us, we can marvel at the progress private space flight has made over the past few years. Musk and pals clearly mean business, and this is yet another sign that we’re on the precipice of a major sea change in how human beings get off our tiny little marble.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Stay on target SpaceX CEO Elon Musk took to Instagram last night to show off his company’s official space suit design. Even better? These aren’t mock-ups; they’re the real deal.“First picture of SpaceX spacesuit,” he wrote in a caption for the photo. “More in days to follow. Worth noting that this actually works (not a mockup). Already tested to double vacuum pressure. Was incredibly hard to balance aesthetics (sic) and function. Easy to do either separately.”last_img read more