A space suit consists of many different layers of garments, environmental systems and equipment. There is one function that all space suits were designed for, and that is to keep astronauts alive while in space.
Different space suits will perform different functions, but that is the main reason that space suits were designed. What is interesting about the early sci fi authors is when they first imagined space would be like.
You will find that a ton of creativity was used when authors first began writing about space. Some of the timelines that the authors used were based on the year 2000, so it can be interesting to see what authors 50 years ago thought about this time period.
Every space suit is custom tailored to the wearer. On top of that, most space suits cost $12 million a piece.
Listed below are some of the Sci-Fi and real life space suits:
Neil Armstrong’s Apollo 11 Space Suit
This is the space suit that most people visualize when they think of space suits that astronauts wear.
Skintight Space Suits
This was been done in real life as well as it was a major theme in the Sci-fi world. In the real world the skin tight space suit used was called the Space Activity Suit. It could also be called SAS for short.
Unlike other suits the SAS is not inflated and hugs the skin. Utilizing mechanical pressure instead of conventional air pressure. These suits were designed in the late 1960s and are still in use today as of 2011. In fact, there is research that is being done in order to create a skin tight suit that is similar to the bio-suit.
The skintight suit has been used throughout a variety of fiction stories as well. For example, they were used in Kim Stanley’s novels called the ‘Mars Trilogy.’ The suits were refered to as ‘Walkers’ and were used to explore the martian surface. Skinsuits were also used in the books called ‘Honorverse’ by David Weber. In fact, they were used throughout that series.
This space suit was designed by Dava Newman from MIT and is made from a combination of kevlar, spandex and elastic. This suit is also very flexible making it easy for the astronaut to maneuver while in space. Still in prototype stage.
This is a comic series that was started during the 1950s. Space suits in this comic did not have the common backpack. The way it was said to keep the people alive was by using a life-support system which used double layer walled helmet.
What is amazing about the Dan Dare comic series is that it also thought up creatively designed alien space suits.
E.M.U. Modern Space Suit
Another real life space suit. Soft fabrics make up the legs and arms while a rigid fiberglass torso carries the life support system.
This space suit offers:
- Maximum Absorption Garment – which is basically a built-in toilet. The purpose of it is to collect the urine of the astronaut.
- Liquid Cooling and Ventilation Garment – This garment helps to rid the body of any excess heat.
- Extravehicular Visor Assembly – This protects the astronaut from sunlight.
Gundam Space Suit
This is a suit that was based off the cartoon network show ‘Gundam.’ It is a cartoon that is classified in the anime genre. The difference between these space suits and the space suits in real life is that the person fits into the head of the suit. They would rely on a giant robot to make their movement instead of their legs, and in the show they fight other people in these suits.
This is how space suits have evolved to the present day. While space suits are actually relatively new (As is space travel for that matter) to the world, they have still come a long ways and are only getting better as time goes by. It will not be long and people will be playing sports from space.
About the Author:
Jeffrey Aluso is a blogger and space dreamer. He hopes one day his sci-fi short stories will be published.