NASA is developing the Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit, or xEMU, as a spacesuit for astronauts on the Moon as part of the Artemis program. Image credit: NASA
If NASA is ever going to send astronauts back to the Moon by 2024, it’s going to need new spacesuits for lunar exploration. But before astronauts ever don those suits on the Moon, they’ll test “walk” them on the International Space Station in 2023, according to the engineer backing the program.
NASA’s Artemis Moon program aims to land the first astronauts at the south pole of the Moon in 2024, but the agency’s current spacesuit design — called the Extravehicular Mobility Unit, or EMU — is designed for floating spacewalks (also known as extra-vehicular activities or EVAs), not clambering around a rocky, lunar surface.
NASA’s in-house Advanced Space Suit Project is one of several spacesuit efforts the agency has pursued in recent years, to develop ways to explore deep space. In November 2016, according to a 2017 NASA Office of Inspector General report, the project centred its efforts on a new generation of EVA suit, now known as the xEMU. And so far, the agency is still holding to its timeline of testing ...