It’s sleek, secure and somewhat similar to the outfit worn by the white Power Ranger.
SpaceX chief Elon Musk shared the first picture of his company’s spacesuit with the world on Tuesday.
Musk, a space enthusiast who plans to send humans to Mars by 2022 at the earliest, said that the picture wasn’t a mockup but a photograph of a real suit that is actually functional.
“Already tested to double vacuum pressure. Was incredibly hard to balance esthetics and function. Easy to do either separately,” Musk said in an Instagram post that has already been liked almost a quarter of a million times.
Coming up with a suit to wear in space is a tough ask. Designers have to combine protection from the elements, such as the rough surface of Mars, while also allowing the flexibility needed if humans are to conduct experiments or investigations while conducting space travel.
Boeing unveiled its newest line of spacesuits in January, which are designed to be used by astronauts at the International Space Station. The suits weigh a mere 20 pounds and come with touchscreen-friendly gloves, among other features, to make life as simple as possible for astronauts. It’s not quite clear yet how the SpaceX suits compare, though Musk did say that more information and images would be revealed in the coming days.
Musk, and his company SpaceX, are determined to make human space travel a reality as soon as possible. In a 2016 keynote speech at the International Astronautical Congress, Musk said that his aim was to conduct manned missions to Mars by 2022, an ambitious goal that may have to be pushed back as SpaceX struggles to navigate obstacles, like the explosion of a rocket on its Florida launch pad in September 2016. Before that, SpaceX is planning to send humans into orbit using the Dragon spacecraft, and wants to send two human beings around the moon in 2018.
SpaceX, along with Boeing, was also awarded a government contract to develop vehicles ready to take astronauts to the International Space Station in 2017, though that could now be delayed due to 2019.
But whenever SpaceX does end up taking people into space, it’s clear that Musk is keen for them to look good while they’re doing it. “We are putting a lot of effort into design esthetics, not just utility. It needs to both look like a 21st century spacesuit and work well,” said Musk in a Reddit question and answer session in 2015. The latest image seems to show that Musk is staying true to his word.
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