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The Mars Z-2 spacesuit; Image: NASA
The Mars Z-2 spacesuit; Image: NASA

NASA has unveiled the design of its Mars space suit.

The suit, known as the NASA Z-2 Spacesuit, was one of three designs NASA asked the public to vote on.

More than 233,000 people voted for the Z-2 design, which won with more than 60 per cent of the votes.

NASA is developing suits that will be worn by astronauts who will live and work on Mars one day in the future.

But this suit won’t be going into space. It’s a “prototype” which means it’s a test suit which scientists are still working on.

The Z-2 is different in some big ways from the Z-1 which came before it.

The Z-2 has a hard upper torso. In other words, the suit from the waist up is hard rather than flexible as the Z-1 was.

Also, the boots and the materials used on the Z-2 are more suitable for space wear than those on the Z-1.

In November, the suit will be put through testing to help the scientists improve it still further. For instance, it will be subjected to the kinds of conditions that can be expected on Mars. It will be tested at a site that imitates the rocky terrain found on Mars, to see how well the astronauts can move in it over that kind of surface.

The suit has “electroluminescent wiring” on it.

In other words, it is covered in a kind of wire that lights up. That has never been used on a spacesuit before.

Related links
Follow NASA’s work preparing for a flight to Mars on their websites at http://www.nasa.gov/exploration and http://www.nasa.gov/mars.

“Designing Spacesuits for Mars” — A NASA activity for grades 5-12 can be found here.

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS
By Jonathan Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Make your own version of the space suit you would like to see astronauts wear on Mars. What are some of the features that your suit has?

Reading Prompt: Responding to and Evaluating Texts
60% of people voted for the NASA Z-2 Spacesuit. Would you have voted for it? Do you like the design that was selected? Why or why not?

Primary
Express personal opinions about ideas presented in texts (OME, Reading: 1.8).

Junior
Make judgements and draw conclusions about the ideas and information in texts and cite stated or implied evidence from the text to support their views (OME, Reading: 1.8).

Intermediate
Extend understanding of texts, including increasingly complex or difficult texts, by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.8).

Language Feature: Astronaut

The word astronaut comes from two greek words: “astro” meaning “star” and “naut” meaning “sailor.” give that, what do you think the following words may mean: “aeronaut,” “aquanaut,” “argonaut,” “cosmonaut,” and “oceanaut.”