The challenge allowed the public to vote for one of three versions of the Z-2 cover layer, each of which was designed by Philadelphia University and the primary suit vendor, ILC Dover. Each of these designs highlighted a mobility characteristic, as well as including electroluminescent wiring, which has never been used on a spacesuit before. NASA hopes that the wiring will help in space crew identification.
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The Technology design will now be used in the completed Z-2 suit as part of NASA’s project to create a new spacesuit for the exploration of Mars.
The Z-2 is that latest in the Z-series of spacesuit prototypes created for NASA’s Advanced Exploration Systems Division. The goal is to develop a new suit, through a number of iterations, that can be used for a manned mission to Mars. The Z-2 is not itself a flightworthy suit and will not be sent into space because it lacks the specific high-performance materials and design details needed for working outside the Earth’s atmosphere.
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