Australian Space Agency funds locally-designed space suits
Congratulations to Mars Society Australia member, Dr James Waldie for receiving funding from the Australia Space Agency to help develop the next generation of space suits in a major international collaboration involving NASA and the European Space Agency.
The $844,000 Australian Space Agency grant will develop three types of compression space suits, each designed to protect astronauts from the physical strains of space. Two of the designs will be developed as advanced prototypes and one as a concept.
Human bodies in weightless space, once unloaded of gravity, also weaken. Astronauts lose muscle and up to 2 per cent of their bone mass every month while in space.
With future missions, such as those to Mars, likely to take well over two years to complete, protecting people from these health impacts presents a major challenge.
Dr Waldie added, “Bone loss is a particular challenge – it’s like an extreme version of osteoporosis. Your hip bones could age by 50 years over a Mars mission.”
The team’s skinsuit helps mitigate bone and muscle loss and other health side effects of weightlessness by imposing Earth-like longitudinal loading on the torso and lower body.