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Future spacesuits could act like protective second skin

Sharon Gaudin | Sept. 19, 2014
As NASA works to one day send astronauts to asteroids and eventually to Mars, the space agency is also looking for new spacesuits that will keep the astronauts safe, while enabling them to move freely.

"These are basically self-closing buckles," said Bradley Holschuh, an MIT Ph.D candidate, who conceived the coil design. "Once you put the suit on, you can run a current through all these little features, and the suit will shrink-wrap you, and pull closed."

The next step in the researchers' work will be to figure out how to keep the suit tight after it's initially triggered.

According to MIT, the scientists are working on two options — maintaining a constant temperature running through the suit or building a locking mechanism into the coils. The researchers are focusing on the locking mechanism since the other option easily could overheat the astronaut and require them to carry heavy battery packs.

NASA is helping to fund the research.


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