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Sol Journal for October 6th

October 6, 2016

This report was filed by Anastasiya Stepanova – Crew Journalist:

New Martian space suits

Today we received a special package from Earth. Like a kids in the Christmas morning we were waiting for our dearest present. The container was waiting to be collected from the airlock.

“New space suits arrived”, exclaimed Jon with a big smile on his face. The package was opened with the speed of light and everyone started to study the suits. They were shiny and smelled “new”. Each crew member could have his own space suit adjusted to his/her size, height. Those space suits gives us a super power! That is the feeling I experience every time I wear it. It increases the level of responsibility, conciseness and stamina. Martian space suits should become as familiar, comfortable and easy to use as clothes. Well this is the ideal view – but what is the reality?

Let us go through the functional requirements for the Martian suits. It should provide and maintain breathable atmosphere, regulate temperature, supply with water and food, manage the crew waste, get the biomedical data, enable communication, track the crew member, record the audio, video data and so on. There are so many more to be added to the list.

In order to work on Martian surface the suit should be flexible, reasonably light, shielded against radiation and robust to corrosion. It should work up to 10-12 hours, withstand Martian tiny dust particles, which can cause the problem for space suit bearings. Again ideally should have a self-cleaning system to get rid of human bacteria and smell. Probably some day we will have the terms “stylish Mars suit” but for the next couple of decades it doesn’t seem to be one of the aspects under consideration.

If you think I mentioned too many requirements, you will be surprised to learn that I didn’t list them all. When the first humans will work on Mars their experiences will demand many unexpected improvements to the suits. This is why our simulation mission Mars 160 is so important. Valuable data of our Extra Vehicle Activity will provide the better understanding of how Martian space suits should be developed. We are happy to add a drop of information to the boiling kettle of space suit requirements.