I’ve not been jumping on my concepts for a little while but as I’m back into it again I thought I would jump into space suits and uniforms / space age clothing and what I’ve been thinking about it all.
We’ve all seem the Moon landings and various astronauts dossing about on ISS and know pretty much what a modern day space suit looks like. They’re big and bulky and they have to be becasue they have to be tough and keep the delicate human living inside it alive so they can do their job.
Then if we delve into a little science fiction with The Martian there’s something a little different, it looks more lightweight and with good reason. For a suit to be practical on Mars it still needs to protect the human but it also needs to be much lighter to wear as the typical spacesuit would be really hard to live with becasue of the greater gravity.
So even considering this simple premise there’s more to spacesuits than just throwing on a big suit, there’s thought, purpose and more importantly a lot of engineering behind them, which is what bugs me.
A lot of Sci-Fi doesn’t give it enough attention. Let me explain…
1. Going down to the Planet
In science fiction there’s normally one of two things going on when people from a spaceship go onto a planet:
1. They’re exploring something new and unknown
2. They’re going to fight something gruesome.
Yet if we look at what they’re wearing they couldn’t be less prepared. Typical of this is my old friend Star Trek there they are cooped up in a nice warm starship, drinking Earl Grey and then decide to beam down onto a planet without even a coat…
I do feel there’s need to be some realism here, what this means is that every planet they beam down on has similar temperature, pressure, atmosphere to the starship they have just come from, not to mention risks like radiation and bacteria or other microbial life.
This was shown perfectly in Prometheus, this time they were suited up but some removed their helmets to feel water on their faces, for one this led to fatal consequences, which was the start of more fatal consequences after bringing on board other alien biological finds and exploding an alien head.
2. Coming back
This brings me onto the next bit – coming back on board. Something interesting that come up in Artemis was when an astronaut came back to Artemis they went through a dust cleanse, becasue Lunar dust is sharp and dangerous to breathe in, so you don’t want it about.
Whether is’ dust, bacteria or other alien life coming back and having a full bio or dust cleandown means any space suit needs to be able to at at least attempt to reject bacterial or microbe growth on its surface, robust enough to survive a clean (and attack) – and a serious clean before the human removes the suit.
Sure at this point I can slip in that it needs to be easy to put on or take off but I think if you put that against having a chest bursting alien growing inside you I think anyone would take the suit.
3. My Suit
This is what I think a suit / uniform should consist of:
Firstly there needs to be an inner suit, this what the human wears about their normal habitat, like a sealable body sock than can protect them from low pressure / vacuum expose in the event of some kind of catastrophe. Sure they need oxygen / a helmet to survive so a lightweight crew headpiece that would fit easily and would be part of their ship based kit.
The body sock wouldn’t necessarily be visible on the outside but if considering that cleaning would be an exercise which costs valuable water then this suit could have smart materials that help keep the skin clean, reclaim water and filter / retain it to help with radiation exposure and with this temperature regulation as it stands to reason it might not always be possible to heat / cool parts of a base / spacecraft to bearable temperatures.
Next when these humans need to venture outside advanced materials make the suit lighter, but this would then be weighed down a bit with water containment between the suit and the human to resist radiation exposure.
Finally, a helmet with clever readouts is all very well, I know Tony Stark doesn’t get this problem but the helmet needs an itch finger, that can automatically find itches. There’s nothing worse than having an itchy nose that you can’t scratch!
Those are my views… what do you think? Let me know in the comments.