Friday, December 23, 2005

Japanese and Other Scientists Plan Space-Age Spacesuit

In an effort to expand their participation in the burgeoning international Space industry, scientists working at Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) are setting their sights on re-designing the spacesuit.
They hope to use new materials to make the suits less bulky and more maneuverable, while increasing their ability to withstand radiation, extreme heat and cold and generally better protect the astronauts who wear them.
As well as increasing its participation in international projects, Japan has plans to launch its own astronauts and build and operate a lunar base by 2025 so the new suit would also serve their own needs.
But they are not alone in taking a second look at the bulky spacesuits now being used.
Research scientists working at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are working on plans for a synthetic spray-on "second skin"-type suit, that would utilize embedded electronics, communications equipment and possibly some form of mobility enhancement.
If successful the new suits will allow the wearer to remain inside for a week or possibly more, and weight one-fifth as much as the current design.

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