New NASA spacesuits revealed earlier this month looked like they were from a movie set because… they sort of are.
According to Axiom Space, the maker of the suits, the sleek black look is a cover layer designed with Esther Marquis, costume designer for the Apple TV+ series “For All Mankind” and it won’t be what NASA Artemis astronauts actually wear on the moon.
Business Insider reported on the issue Thursday.
“Astronauts can’t wear black on the moon,” even if it looks cool, the outlet confirmed.
Axiom explained that “a spacesuit worn on the Moon must be white to reflect heat and protect astronauts from extreme high temperatures,” and the black cover layer is actually hiding the suit’s proprietary design.
“Artemis III will land astronauts, including the first woman, on the Moon to advance long-term lunar exploration and scientific discovery, and inspire the Artemis Generation. NASA selected Axiom Space to deliver the moonwalking system, including the spacesuit, for the mission,” said NASA of the mission the suits were designed for. “Called the Axiom Extravehicular Mobility Unit, or AxEMU, the spacesuit builds on NASA’s spacesuit prototype developments and incorporates the latest technology, enhanced mobility, and added protection from hazards at the Moon.”
Astronauts wearing that design will be the first humans to set foot on the surface on the moon in around five decades. Prototypes of the suit were revealed March 15 at Space Center Houston’s Moon 2 Mars Festival. Actual suits are expected to be delivered this summer.
“The spacesuit will provide astronauts with advanced capabilities for space exploration while providing NASA commercially developed human systems needed to access, live and work on and around the Moon,” said an Axiom press release. “The advanced spacesuit ensures astronauts are equipped with high-performing, robust equipment and is designed to accommodate a wide range of crew members.”
In these new suits, astronauts are expected to be able to explore more of the moon’s surface than ever before.
“We carefully considered years of lessons learned by NASA and used that experience to build a spacesuit for the Moon and for our future Axiom Space customers,” said Mark Greeley, Axiom Space, Extravehicular Activity (EVA) program manager.
With the Artemis mission NASA plans to land the first woman and the first person of color on the Moon. It also plans to pave “the way for a long-term, sustainable lunar presence,” and prepare future astronauts for missions to Mars.