SpaceX’s slim new spacesuits look straight out of sci-fi

spacex spacesuit
We’ve known about Elon Musk’s ambitions to send human beings to Mars for quite some time. On Wednesday, Musk’s aerospace transport company made another giant leap toward these goals by revealing the SpaceX spacesuit it hopes to use to transport astronauts to and from outer space.

In 2014, NASA announced it awarded government contracts to both Boeing and SpaceX to ferry American astronauts to and from the International Space Station. SpaceX has already proven its ability to launch and land recycled rockets and also the viability of the Dragon Capsule its plans to use to ship astronauts to and from the ISS. However, despite leaked unverified images on Reddit, we had yet to see a fully functional spacesuit — a crucial aspect of any space-faring aims.

Finally, Musk shared an image of the SpaceX spacesuit on Instagram with the caption: “First picture of SpaceX spacesuit. More in days to follow. Worth noting that this actually works (not a mockup). Already tested to double vacuum pressure. Was incredibly hard to balance [a]esthetics and function. Easy to do either separately.”

Hours after the unveiling, the post had garnered more than a quarter of a million likes — and counting. It is important to note that the spacesuit isn’t a mockup. According to Musk, the suit is fully functional and successfully withstood double-vacuum pressure tests. Part Tron: Legacy, part The Rocketeer with just a dash of Power Rangers to taste, the suits are not nearly as utilitarian or cumbersome as other transport suits currently used by other space agencies. These types of spacesuits aren’t intended for extravehicular activity outside of the space station. Instead, these suits will be worn by astronauts during transport just in case the Dragon Capsule depressurizes.

Earlier in 2017, Boeing unveiled its sleek, prototype spacesuits complete with touchscreen-sensitive gloves, integrated helmet, visor, and even incorporated shoes “akin to cross trainers.” The full SpaceX suit weighs about 20 pounds, which is roughly 10 pounds lighter than similar suits currently donned by astronauts. While Boeing chose to partner with the David Clark Company for its latest iteration, SpaceX — in true Musk fashion — developed its suits in-house to minimize production costs similar to the way the company has fine-tuned its rocketry manufacturing.

While the reveal was a little light on overall specs and even a full-body view, Musk promised more information in the coming days. Whether Musk meets his ambitious goal of sending astronauts to Mars in the next five years is anyone’s guess, but this unveiling is certainly a step in the right direction.

Emerging Tech

Japanese billionaire faces tricky task of choosing 8 artists for his moon trip

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa has been named as SpaceX's first-ever paying passenger for a trip to the moon in 2023. He says he wants to take eight artists with him. But how will he choose them? And will they accept?
Emerging Tech

Robots are going to steal 75 million jobs by 2025 — but there’s no need to panic

According to the World Economic Forum, robots and A.I. will take 75 million jobs from hardworking humans by 2025. That's the bad news. The good news is that they will create far more jobs than that.
Emerging Tech

SpaceX to send Japanese billionaire on moon trip, but he won’t be going alone

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has named Japanese billionaire entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa as the first paying passenger for the company's ambitious 2023 moon mission aboard the Big Falcon Rocket.
Emerging Tech

We’re going to the Red Planet! All the past, present, and future missions to Mars

SpaceX isn't the only organization pining to visit the Red Planet. Here's a detailed list of all operational and planned missions to Mars, along with explanations of their objectives, spacecraft details, and mission proposals.
Emerging Tech

Don’t be fooled — this automated system sneakily manipulates video content

In the vein of “deep fakes," Recycle-GAN, a new system from Carnegie Mellon University, presents another case for how difficult it will be to distinguish fiction from reality in the future.
Emerging Tech

Moxi the ‘friendly’ hospital robot wants to help nurses, not replace them

Moxi is a "friendly" hospital robot from Texas-based Diligent Robotics. The wheel-based bot, which begins trials this week, aims to free nurses from routine tasks so they can spend more time with patients.
Emerging Tech

Giant wind farm in Morocco will help mine cryptocurrency, conserve energy

One of the windiest parts of Morocco is set to get a $2 billion wind farm power plant, which could help power eco-friendly cryptocurrency mining in a more environmentally friendly way.
Emerging Tech

How do 3D printers work? Here’s a super-simple breakdown

How do 3D printers work, exactly? If you ever wondered how these magical machines create 3D objects in a matter of hours, then look no further than this dead-simple breakdown of the four most common printing technologies.
Emerging Tech

Sick of walking everywhere? Here are the best electric skateboards you can buy

Thanks for Kickstarter and Indiegogo, electric skateboards are carving a bigger niche than you might think. Whether you're into speed, mileage, or something a bit more stylish, here are the best electric skateboards on the market.
Deals

Cyber Monday 2018: When it takes place and where to find the best deals

Cyber Monday is still a ways off, but it's never too early to start planning ahead. With so many different deals to choose from during one of the biggest shopping holidays of the year, going in with a little know-how makes all the…
Emerging Tech

An A.I. is designing retro video games — and they’re surprisingly good

Researchers from Georgia Tech have demonstrated how artificial intelligence can be used to create brand-new video games after being shown hours of classic 8-bit gaming action for inspiration.
Smart Home

Amazon might open 3,000 cashier-free Amazon Go stores by 2021

According to new reporting by Bloomburg, anonymous sources within Amazon say that CEO Jeff Bezos is considering opening up to 3,000 of the company's cashier-less, experimental Amazon Go stores by 2021.
Emerging Tech

Wormlike motion sculptures show how athletes move in 3D

Researchers at MIT have developed a system that offers athletes a unique way to visualize their bodies in motion. An algorithm scans 2D videos of a person in motion, and generates data points that can be 3D-printed into "motion sculptures."
Emerging Tech

Harvard’s soft robotic exosuit adapts itself to the needs of every wearer

Harvard engineers have developed a new multi-joint, textile-based soft robotic exosuit, designed to help soldiers, firefighters, and other rescue workers. Here's what makes it so exciting.