While researching the story of NASA's new spacesuit prototypes, I could not confirm the one-size-fits-all claim made by news outlets. But I did learn the following fun facts while I was looking:
- According to NASA: During spacewalks, which can last for many hours, astronauts all wear "a diaper-like garment…that is a combination of commercial products stitched together for maximum absorption." Astronauts "generally prefer not to use it."
- Amy Ross, NASA's lead spacesuit engineer, describes her job as "to take a basketball, shape it like a human, keep them alive in a harsh environment and give them the mobility to do their job."
- The Orion suits, which are worn during re-entry, are colored orange in case the astronauts wind up in the ocean and need to be spotted for rescue. (You know what, maybe this fact isn't actually "fun.")
- According to NPR, "astronauts grow taller in the microgravity of space;" astronaut Anne McClain reported that after a few months on the ISS, she'd gained two inches in height!
- This Z-1 Mars prototype suit actually had the green accents added as a nod to Buzz Lightyear.
- I thought squeezing into a tight pair of jeans was bad, but getting into a spacesuit is apparently more difficult. Here's an astronaut finagling her way into an older spacesuit design with "waist entry:"
- More modern designs feature this crazy "rear entry" process:
- NASA has this actual image and caption in one of their downloadable presentations:
Who knew NASA had a sense of humor?