This fall, we are exploring how space inspires progress. Today, we are looking at NASA’s next generation spacesuits, which will protect astronauts as they push to explore the Moon, Mars, and beyond. Solve space by unscrambling this image of the Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit, or xEMU, which will be worn by Artemis astronauts on their return to the lunar surface.
An Artemis lunar landing is on the horizon and with a new era dawning in human space exploration, come new spacesuits.
Meet the xEMU. It’s NASA’s next generation spacewalking suit. While it’s inspired by the Apollo moonwalking suits, it’s got some notable upgrades.
Instead of a multi-step donning process, the xEMU allows astronauts to easily don the one-piece suit by sliding in and out through a hatchback. The xEMU will also give Artemis astronauts an increased range of motion and allow them to walk on the Moon rather than hop, like Apollo astronauts had to. The suits have been made to be more versatile than their Apollo predecessors, as they will be used for a wider range of missions and activities.
According to NASA, the communications system inside the helmet has been completely redesigned. No longer will astronauts have to wear the famous “snoopy caps,” headsets that would often get sweaty and cause discomfort. Now, the suit is equipped with microphones in the upper torso, which can pick up the astronaut’s voice right away, allowing for improved communications between astronauts, their spacecraft, the Gateway, and mission control.
The helmet for the xEMU will also come with a handy feature. It comes with a quick-swap protective visor, which can be changed out in between spacewalks as compared to today’s EMUs used on the International Space Station, which must be serviced on the ground.
Watch the video below to learn more about NASA’s next generation spacesuits and click here to test out your spacesuit knowledge with our latest pop quiz!