Last month, NASA asked the people to help pick the design of the next spacesuit. The people have spoken and they have decreed that NASA astronauts should look like chrome versions of Buzz Lightyear. In other words, the astronauts are going to look extremely cool.
If they manage to get to Mars while these suits are still in use the astronauts will be the most stylish ones on the planet, outside of Marvin the Martian. The Z-2 spacesuit is the newest prototype of the Z-series, the next wave in space traveling attire, one of a series of suits anticipated as the technology evolves toward giving people the ability to actually walk on that big old red planet one day, according to NASA officialdom.
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The design is more sleek than the old Marshmallow Man-style puffy white suits, and NASA folks did a clever thing in getting the public to actually vote on which type of suit they preferred, since it gives people who are decidedly not with NASA the chance to have a personal stake in what goes on there. The chrome Buzz Lightyear suit, as we've decided to call it, garnered 63 percent of the vote, according to a NASA statement.
Now, NASA folks are planning to run the suit through a bunch of tests at Johnson Space Center. They'll run it in a vacuum chamber, drop it in a deep pool and see how it does on a rocky Martian-like surface in November (Sounds fun, right?).
But they should be pretty nifty looking outfits once the suits are done and all the testing is complete. It will be a while before we see the real suits, but we're already hoping that the first astronaut to wear one in public will just do his or her best Buzz Lightyear imitation. Because it would be glorious.