New BioSuit For Astronauts Being Developed At MIT

Older sci fi films are going to start to look more and more dated. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are developing a new type of skintight space suit dubbed a BioSuit. The new suit fits closely around the wearer through the use of “shape memory” materials. The BioSuit is manufactured from springlike shape-memory coils that activate as soon as it comes in contact with body heat and envelop the body of the wearer like a second skin.

Flexible BioSuits will astronauts to move easier while in space compared to the bulky spacesuits that they have to wear when they venture out of the airlock today.

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New BioSuit ideal for space exploration

Dava Newman, a professor of astronautics and aeronautics at MIT, explains that conventional spacesuits provides astronauts with around one-third atmospheric pressure so they can survive in the vacuum of space.

However, the BioSuit permits the same pressurization by applying an equal amount of amount of pressure directly in contact with the skin. The new suit uses a blend of passive elastics and active materials, and is designed for easy movement. It is also very lightweight, making it ideal for space exploration.

NASA has been researching and planning these form-fitting space suits for some time now. MIT scientists have now, however, made the necessary adjustments and tests so that astronauts can safely wear the new BioSuit.

Can also serve as “tourniquet system”

Bradley Holschuh, a member of the MIT lab team and the creator of the suit’s shrinking coil technology, says the BioSuit can also serve as type of medical “tourniquet system” to cut off circulation to an extremity when the wearer is bleeding or injured.

Newman noted that although the process of developing these new space suits is certainly exciting, it was also important to keep in mind that spacesuits are not just worn to enhance human performance while exploring space, but also to maximize the astronauts’ safety and survivability.