Misc: The perfect space suit is hard to find + Space mission simulations + A burger for spacefarers

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August 23, 2017

The new SpaceX space suit is just the latest entry in the long history of efforts to create suits that meet the many demands of protecting a person in space: In Pursuit of the Perfect Spacesuit: Choosing the right outfit is crucial when its job is to save your life – Air & Space Magazine

Final Frontier Design, for example, is pursuing better approaches for EVA suits:

Final Frontier Design’s mechanical counter-pressure gloves use compressive fibers (think Spanx for your hands) together with small inflatable pillows to apply pressure in cavities, like the palms. “It’s a non-ideal solution and I wish there was a better way, but it’s one that works today,” says Southern. “There’s more development [needed] to get to a fully functional EVA glove, but it’s tantalizingly close and certainly better than in the past.”

Final Frontier Design is applying for a NASA contract to develop a mechanical counter-pressure arm, for which it already has a prototype. If that works, it will scale and translate the arm design into legs. “Then all of a sudden we have a full suit,” says Southern. “I am convinced that if we could do that, it would make current pressurized suits obsolete. Even a hybrid [mechanical counter-pressure] suit [with a conventionally pressurized torso] would be so much lighter and so much better in mobility for planetary excursions that a full pressurized suit just wouldn’t make any sense.

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From big simulation facilities at government programs like NASA and ESA to “expeditions” at simulated habitats sponsored by non-governmental organizations like the Mars Society, there have been many simulated missions trying to find out on earth what are the problems and solutions to long term habitation in space and on celestial sites like the Moon and Mars: Mars Fakers: Can we learn anything by pretending? – Air & Space Magazine

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Even with permanent space towns in place, it will be a long time before there are herds of livestock available to feed the settlers. Perhaps there are other more practical and humane ways to produce a good-tasting steak in space: Bill Gates, Richard Branson Invest in Clean Meat Startup | Fortune.com.

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