NASA needs to get a new spacesuit if it wants to successfully meets the 2024 deadline of returning back to the moon. NASA months back cancelled a planned historic spacewalk by two women astronauts, citing a lack of available spacesuits that would fit them at the International Space Station.
“NASA still doesn't have a suit because the decision was taken suddenly. On the one hand, there's this order to get to the Moon by 2024, and on the other, we haven't developed new spacesuits since 1977,” Pablo de Leon, engineer and director of a NASA financed spacesuit project, University of North Dakota, told AFP. Moreover, NASA hasn’t found any replacement or set any deadline to find a replacement for the space suits.
According to NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine, spacesuits that are currently in development will have to be used in low-Earth orbit (LEO) and on the Moon, which poses complex engineering and design challenges for the people building them.
“The requirements of Moon suits are more challenging than LEO alone, but the suit we use on the Moon will also meet the needs of the International Space Station with very little, if any, modifications,” Lindsay Aitchison, Spacesuit Engineer, NASA, told Axios. In all, NASA really needs to buck up if it wants to successfully accomplish its 2024 moon mission.
What is a spacesuit?
A spacesuit is more than clothes astronauts wear in space. The suit is really a small spacecraft. It protects the astronaut from the dangers of being outside in space. Spacesuits help astronauts in many ways. The suits protect astronauts from getting too hot or cold. Spacesuits also give astronauts oxygen to breathe while they are working in space. The suits hold water to drink. They also keep astronauts from getting hurt by space dust. Space dust may not sound very dangerous. But when it moves faster than a bullet, the dust can hurt someone. The suits even have special gold-lined visors to protect eyes from bright sunlight.