NASA has revealed its new Z-2 spacesuit design, and the futuristic-looking garb appears to be something straight out of the sci-fi classic Tron.
As MailOnline reports, each spacesuit is set to be 3D printed for the astronaut it will belong to and is designed to allow wearers to walk on the martian surface more easily. According to Phil Stampinato of ILC Dover, the company that constructed the suit, “Everything that’s done to develop this suit is headed for a Mars mission, even if there is an asteroid mission or a lunar mission prior to that.”
The Z-2 spacesuit is intended to give astronauts far greater flexibility and mobility than the spacesuits currently worn aboard the International Space Station and will be built to withstand and absorb impacts, particularly in the torso region.
Most interestingly, the spacesuits will also be compatible with something called a “suitport,” which takes the place of an airlock, according to Yahoo News. Basically, instead of entering a habitat wearing the suit, astronauts simply use a built-in hatch on the back of the suit to “dock” it outside.
The aesthetic design of the Z-2 spacesuit was chosen by a public vote from a total of three possible designs. Of the other two, NASA said that the Biomimicry spacesuit was designed to mimic the bio-luminescent qualities of aquatic creatures. The Trends in Society spacesuit, meanwhile, reflects the look of wearable tech and is meant to be “reflective of what every day clothes may look like in the not too distant future.”
The winning spacesuit design is officially called the Technology suit, and NASA says it “pays homage to spacesuit achievements of the past while incorporating subtle elements of the future.” The suit’s sci-fi look comes from luminescent patches and luminex wire fastened to its exterior, which will help to illuminate the environment around the suit, while simultaneously making it easy to identify individual astronauts during spacewalks.
The Z-2 spacesuit will replace NASA’s Z-1 design, which was named one of Time’s inventions of the year in 2012. As The Inquisitr reported, the Z-1 spacesuit garnered much attention for its resemblance to the spacesuit worn by the Pixar’s character Buzz Lightyear. After the “positive response” that the Z-1 spacesuit’s exterior design received, NASA says they “wanted to take the opportunity to provide this new suit with an equally memorable appearance.”