Mars One has presented its initial Conceptual Design Assessment of Mars One’s Surface Exploration Suit (SES), developed by Paragon Space Development, while NASA has introduced its Z-2 spacesuit.
According to Mars One, the suit will feature all of the functions that will let humans survive while they explore the Martian landscape, allowing them to work outside the living habitats and operate under the “extremely challenging Mars surface conditions.” The SES is designed to sustain the pressure of the Martian atmosphere and it is expected to be employed by 2030, when NASA plans to send the first astronauts headed to the Red Planet.
One of the most interesting features is that the individual parts of the suit can be 3D-printed for replacement during missions on the Martian surface. The SES is designed to withstand temperatures ranging from -128 to 77°C, equivalent to -198.4 to 170.6°F.
The suit is expected to be easy to put on, requiring 30 minutes to do so without any assistance and 10 minutes with external help. It will have a durability of eight hours before having to be plugged into a support station, which will then take four hours to recharge. It also features a drinking water and food supply, while also allowing waste collecting.
Suits for the first human Martians
On the other hand, NASA has released some pictures of its Z-2 spacesuit prototype, designed to allow humans explore foreign planets.
“The design also utilizes 3D human laser scans and 3D-printed hardware. Ultimately, this means that each suit will be a near perfect fit for the wearer, relatively speaking. The new design has a hard composite upper torso, which provides the much-needed long-term durability that a planetary EVA suit will require,” wrote NASA on its website.
The Z-2 is designed to allow maximum astronaut productivity on a planetary surface, which includes collecting samples, performing experiments, and being able to enter and exit habitats without any trouble. Much like the SES, the Z-2 is designed to be lightweight and durable to sustain long periods under the severe atmospheric conditions of the Marian regolith. The Z-2 is adjustable for the astronaut and different-sized users can use the same suit without any limitation.
Currently, NASA is preparing the Prototype Exploration Suit (PXS) to demonstrate the new technologies that could be applied in the future of space exploration, minimizing the amount and weight of equipment for low-orbit missions. The PXS is also expected to have replaceable parts that can be 3-D printed while in space.
The present schedule by Mars One suggests that a manned crew should be headed to Mars by 2026. This is being challenged by Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, who claims he will send ships to Mars as soon as 2018. Lastly, NASA adheres to a safer schedule, where it assures that manned missions to the Red Planet will start in 2030.
Whoever manages to safely put the first person in Mars will secure a place in history, seeing that the apparent future of mankind is to live on another planet, as Stephen Hawking recently suggested that humans may not live another 1,000 years on Earth.
Source: Mars One