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back to article NASA: Vote now to put FLASHY LIGHTS on future spacesuits

NASA is retiring its current spacesuit, the Z-1, in favour of the Z-2 model which is "approaching a final flight-capable design". And it wants you to decide what it should look like. The Trend in Society spacesuit design The Trend in Society spacesuit design. Credit: NASA The Z-2's basic structure has, of course, already been …

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Coat

Any votes for Cylon style sweeping red leds?

Sorry, couldn't resist

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Happy

Re: Any votes for Cylon style sweeping red leds?

It worked OK for Knight Rider. His car didn't try to take over the world and enslave all humans. Or at least I don't remember that particular episode...

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Re: Any votes for Cylon style sweeping red leds?

"His car didn't try to take over the world and enslave all humans. Or at least I don't remember that particular episode..."

Well, Kitt's prototype Karr was a bit nasty: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCY1pmBxg90

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To infinity and beyond

The Z1 is much better with its Buzz lightyear green and white vibe.

Although if you added a pair of circular antennas to the Z2 helmet it would have echos of Robbie the robot.

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Alien

Couldn't they have asked HR Giger to come up with something suitable?

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The Right Stuff

Did they consciously design the 'Technology' option to resemble a flying jockstrap?

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Mushroom

Not only travelling in space...

... but time too.

'The Technology' design appears to have a built-in flux capacitor!

Be careful with those 1.21 gigawatts! ------------------------------------------->

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Suit port concept

This is a really cool idea, but it's incompatible with any sort of suit maintenance, since the suit is left outside - and with suits being very complex mini-spacecraft, they will always need lots of maintenance.

At least NASA is sort of catching up with the Russian ORLAN suits.

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Re: Suit port concept

You can always send someone outside to fix it, or just bring it inside. They're not incapable of coming inside.

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Sensless!

None of these designs made any sense to me at all! How is a pilot to see and retrieve someone whereing a suit lit with patterns NASA is proposing? They are unsafe. There is no simple way to tell head from toe or back from front; no good outline of the astronaut's body. The lighting seems to nothing more than a mere fashion statement of some weird kind. It has nothing to do with safety or making a safe recovery possible.

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Re: Sensless!

I had the same thought, I think the idea is to have light patches/wire purely intended for easy identification of which suit is which based on colour and maybe pattern, not as a beacon to aid in locating a suit or help identify orientation which for a item which can theorecticaly have any orientation relative to the observer seems a bit weird.

Personally I would have had a light wire on viewable from every angle running down the lenght of the arms and legs (to help show that human shape), with a standardized easy to recognise pattern at the top and bottom of the torso to help identify orientation, maybe something as simple as a single wire running around the bottom of the torso and 2 parallel towards the top, finally a light panel front and back, again something simple light a large circle front and a large square at the back to indicate orientation and maybe a non equilateral triangle on top of the helmet with the sharper pointing forwards.

Then you have either colour or maybe patterned patches on shoulders to identify individuals if needed.

That makes it easy to location, orientate and identify a suit.

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Re: Sensless!

Maybe the astronauts will use strips of coloured insulation tape to customise them? That's what I'd do :)

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Re: Sensless!

The technology model has a clear V on the front and a carat to indicate where the hatch is in the rear of the suit.

If you cannot orient based upon those cues, you are utterly hopeless, even with a proper map and GPS!

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Facepalm

Nice suit

Shame there's no way to get it into orbit.

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Re: Nice suit

They could always ask the Russians or the Chinese...!

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Re: Nice suit

Given the bulky size of the thing, they'll need to drag the shuttles out of the museums

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Trollface

Re asking the Russians...

Yes, they could. But would probably miss the target.

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M7S
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Glow in the dark Y fronts?

Not likely to have the p*** taken out of you by anyone at all. Oh no.

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Re: Glow in the dark Y fronts?

Tron Guy wants his costume back ...

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MJI
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Some thoughts

Saw Buzz Lightyear.

Actually that was the most sensible.

Light colour, distinctive colours / patterns for each Astronaut.

Pattern needs to point to head and be different to the back, the Y shapes do provide that.

I would say a strip starting near belly button splitting into a V onto the shoulders could be one,

So technology is nearest.

Planetary way up is not important, Space it is.

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Re: Some thoughts

"I would say a strip starting near belly button splitting into a V onto the shoulders could be one,"

Ah, so kinda like a glow-in-the-dark Borat mankini? Yup, gets my vote, all this space stuff is SOOOO serious...

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Re: Some thoughts

"So technology is nearest."

It's also a shade of light not naturally found on Mars that is easily focused upon by the human eye, the patches large enough to not be occluded by dust and still indicate front from back and where the hatch is in the rear.

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Anonymous Coward

Wouldn't it make more sense to use that power to power some kind of builtin short range radio transmitter, which could be triangulated? Who the fuck is going to be seeing small lit up wires in the vastness of space?

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"Who the fuck is going to be seeing small lit up wires in the vastness of space?"

Let's see now, stars, big assed sun, suit with different colours and has light wires as well in a colour not found in space.

Meanwhile, you missed the bit about Mars.

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Glowy bits on clothes?

Look no further than TRON for inspiration.

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The big issue

It good to see NASA embracing the growing trend of obesity in the US by making their suits fit the big figure. I'm surprised they haven't fitted a cup holder to the waist band.

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Re: The big issue

Wait till you see the new space shop-mobility scooter

Coming soon to a Walmart in a Galaxy near you

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FAIL

"NASA is retiring its current spacesuit, the Z-1"... the Z1 is an unflown prototype. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Z_series_%28space_suits%29

The current NASA suit is this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extravehicular_Mobility_Unit

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Navigation lights

I would think they would atleast put some sort of navigation light system on. I would think a green stripe down the right arm, a red stripe down the left arm, a double white light on top of the helmet and a short yellow stripes down the back and front of the legs near the ankles would do nicely. (This matches the color scheme now used on for instance the Cygnus spacecraft) This also complies with current naval and aeronautical conventions.

I'm also highly skeptical any astronaut would WANT all those lights on his suit when working on on a spacecraft in the dark. Things would be hard enough without the glare from a chest mounted lighting panel screwing up your night vision

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Re: Navigation lights

" yellow stripes down the back "

I can't see the military-types being terribly fond of this idea.

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actually...

I was thinking from front on it looks a bit like a Sontaran

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MrT
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Don't let Zuckerberg have a say...

... the lights would become an active matrix for status updates and banner ads.

"Buzz [picture] likes Dunlop Space Suit puncture repair kits."

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Coat

Didn't like the exposed joints

The Tech and Society suits looked better, I was surprised that only the Bio suit had fabric covering the joints.

Just wondering about planetary dust and grit......

I agree with the idea of subtle navigational lighting.

Coat? Of course: we're talking space coats :-P

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Electrocution Wire

Electroluminescent Wire runs at 90+ VAC. A vacuum doesn't conduct and pressurized air doesn't conduct, but somewhere in between a tiny bit of gas conducts AC very well. It could make the air lock interesting if the power wires aren't perfectly sealed.

EL wire is inefficient, radiates EMF, is temperature sensitive, and doesn't last long. It seems like late generation LED chips in a light pipe would be far easier for space. At low currents (10% max) they use little voltage, are very efficient, and tolerate an extremely wide temperature range.

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Re: Electrocution Wire

But remember that the nearest this is getting to space is being shown at a science fair in Colorado

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Coat

Please Don't

...put the flashy lights on the suit. I anticipate there will be backscattering off of the helmet that will interfere with getting tasks at night accomplished. On the other hand if one is going to attend a star-studded disco...

Mine's the one with the disco ball attached...

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First thing I thought of when I read this

This adorably creepy kid's costume: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mChi1byyV3c

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Happy

So strobe these things for hi visibility?

Sounds like a good idea.

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Re: So strobe these things for hi visibility?

Good idea for an emergency. Makes finding the downed astronaut much easier.

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