• Question: How would you make a space suit to go to Mars

    Asked by 748tch48 to Vinita on 21 Jun 2016.
    • Photo: Vinita Marwaha

      Vinita Marwaha answered on 21 Jun 2016:

      Thanks for your question!

      Current designs for Martian suits differ from the suits that you may see used for ISS spacewalks. Rather than a bulky gas-filled suit, essentially in a balloon of gas that’s providing you with the necessary one-third of an atmosphere of pressure, to keep you alive in the vacuum of space,
      a suit using mechanical counterpressure (MCP) could be used on Mars. MCP suits physically compress regions of the body with form-fitting garments.

      MCP suits achieve the same pressurization through mechanical counterpressure — applying the pressure directly to the skin, thus avoiding the gas pressure altogether.

      The head is pressurised through an oxygen helmet to allow for breathing. The breathing pressure defines the internal pressure, with the external compression of the suit required to balance the pressure of the oxygen filled helmet.

      The suit can be made of a woven elastic material which functions in tandem with the human skin, which itself is an ideal pressure suit, and allows for self thermo-regulation.

      A Martian MCP suit is significantly lighter with it’s gloves weighing 25% less than NASA’s EMU gloves used on the ISS along with providing greater flexibility than traditional spacesuits.