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News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

Future skintight spacesuits could snug up at the touch of a button

•, By David Szondy

But if an MIT team has any say, the spacesuit of the future will be a snug, form-fitting outfit that's not only lighter and more flexible but also easier to get on, automatically tightening up to a proper fit at the touch of a button.

Spacesuits are vital if space explorers are ever going to do more than just stare out the porthole, but making a suit capable of keeping a human being alive in the vacuum of space is much more involved than just slapping on a fish bowl and a couple of air bottles.

A spacesuit is a complex system that's more like a flexible spaceship than a bit of airtight tailoring. The suit itself is a complex assembly of layers designed to keep in air at a reasonable fraction of atmospheric pressure, along with billows and pleats that allow the wearer to move about with some degree of freedom, and the backpack – that is a fantastic feat of engineering – made up of tanks, cooling systems, air scrubbers, pumps, and everything else needed to support life.

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