NASA’s spacesuit design contest winner

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

One of the runner-up designs, called “biomimicry”, is based on Earth’s oceans, which are similar in their ruggedness to space.

Rockets aren’t the only space tech getting a makeover these days, as NASA recently held a spacesuit design contest to upgrade their 2012 “Z-1” model to a “Z-2” version. The public voted on their favorite next-generation outfit, and the winner was a gray uniform called “technology” that has glowing patches to help identify individual crewmembers.

The look definitely shares similarities to Buzz Lightyear’s gear from Toy Story, with a bit of Tron thrown in for good measure. Astronauts may not be going “to infinity… and beyond!”, but they’ll definitely be taking the Z-2 on a Moon walk. After all, it’s the first mega redesign of the spacewalking suit in almost three decades!

This Z-2 won’t come cheap, though, since it’ll cost $4.4 million to develop. However, this cost would be higher if it wasn’t for 3D printing technology that can produce test models quickly and cheaply. It’s also the first time 3D printers are being used to create a hard upper armor that’s resizeable, and never before has a space suit been designed specifically for walking on the Moon’s surface.

Images courtesy of NASA.