With the focus being shifted to a manned mission for Mars in near future, NASA is developing technologies astronauts one day will use to live and work with on the red planet.
The space agency has now zeroed in on the design that will be incorporated into the final version of the 'Z-2' suit that is expected to be ready for testing by November 2014.
The 'Z-2' suit is the newest prototype in its next-generation spacesuit platform, the Z-series.
“Each iteration of the Z-series will advance new technologies that one day will be used in a suit worn by the first humans to step foot on the red planet,” the space agency said in a statement.
There are many key advances to be found in the 'Z-2' suit when compared to the previous Z suite.
The most significant is that the 'Z-1' had a soft upper torso and the 'Z-2' has a hard composite upper torso.
This composite hard upper torso provides the much-needed long-term durability that a planetary Extravehicular Activity (EVA) suit will require.
The shoulder and hip joints differ significantly based on extensive evaluations performed during the last two years with the 'Z-1' to look at different ways of optimising mobility of these complex joints, NASA explained.
Lastly, the boots are much closer in nature to those that would be found on a suit ready for space, and the materials used on the 'Z-2' are compatible with a full-vacuum environment.
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