Reality following fiction following reality. Turnabout is reaching new heights as SpaceX’s Elon Musk wants a costume designer who has done work for Marvel to design the look of the space suits for the ship’s astronauts, as reported by — appropriately — SkyNews. The stark irony is unparalleled.
It turns out that Jose Fernandez, who designed Iron Man’s costume for Marvel, was originally inspired by Elon Musk for the outfit. The character Tony Stark, (psst, he’s really Iron Man, but it’s not a secret identity anymore as it still is with Superman and Batman), is a brash, billionaire inventor and industrialist who defies convention, doesn’t listen to naysayers and critics, and achieves extraordinary results. Does that remind you of anyone?
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So now the hammer has dropped, and just as everyone really wants the Tesseract in The Avengers, Iron Man inspiration Elon Musk has contracted with the same designer to suit up his astronauts. SpaceX is scheduled to send its first astronauts to the International Space Station in 2017. Musk has also declared his intention to send people to Mars by 2025.
Fernandez won’t actually construct the suit or even design the engineering details. He will, however, design the parts that show, following Musk’s desire that the space suits look “stylish” and “heroic.” Then the look will be turned over to engineers tasked with making sure all the necessary systems and protective features work. Temperatures are a big concern as they can reach as low as minus 238 degrees and as high as 248 degrees Fahrenheit even without leaving earth’s orbit.
NASA has other plans for astronauts’ suits. NASA wants Tron-like suits that are easy to see in the dark and have more mobility than something that Iron Man flies in. NASA also has targeted the 2030s for human travel to Mars.
The race and suit-design competition are on!
Updated on 5-10-16 by Bruce Brown: SpaceX contacted Digital Trends to clarify that there is no formal relationship between Marvel and SpaceX, only a shared designer.