NASA Unveils First New Spacesuit in 40 Years. It’s Pretty Cool Looking

For a trip to the moon’s South Pole, NASA astronauts will wear the space agency’s first new spacesuit in over 40 years.

NASA tapped private company Axiom Space to design the suits for its Artemis III mission, unveiling the first prototype at an event at Space Center Houston last week.

Axiom Space hosted the publicity event so attendees could get a close-up look at the spacesuit, NASA wrote. It’s all meant as another step toward the agency’s goal of building a “robust economy at the Moon” by working with commercial service providers.

Called the Axiom Extravehicular Mobility Unit, or AxEMU, the spacesuit builds on NASA’s spacesuit prototype developments and incorporates the latest technology, enhanced mobility, and added protection from lunar hazards.

It’s also a visual departure from the antiquated, if classic, white and grey suits of decades past. The new suit has an outer cover in black, and accents of navy blue and orange at the knees, shoulders and ankles. There’s also a V overlay at the chest (which stands for victory, apparently) and a tiny American flag on a shoulder.

In short, the suits look a lot less like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and more like the time-travel suits from Avengers: Endgame.


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More like a small spacecraft

But these suits are made not just for cameras, but for adventures on the final frontier. The base cost for the suits starts around $228.5 million, NASA reported, to meet the technical specifications needed to keep astronauts safe.

According to The New York Times, Nicholas de Monchaux, the head of architecture at M.I.T. and the author of Spacesuit: Fashioning Apollo, described the suit as “really less a piece of clothing than a very small building or a very small spacecraft.”

That’s because the spacesuit is “the costume for the drama we project into space,” de Monchaux said. The way we “put ourselves into the heavens.”

Through the Artemis III mission, NASA will land the first woman and the first person of color on the Moon, “paving the way for a long-term, sustainable lunar presence to explore more of the lunar surface than ever before and prepare for future astronaut missions to Mars,” the space agency said.

But for all the suit’s advanced technology, one thing remains the same: Astronauts will still wear diapers.

“They’re just honestly a very effective solution,” said Russell Ralston Axiom’s deputy program manager. “Sometimes simplicity is best and this is one of those cases.”

Andrew McLemore

An award-winning journalist and photographer, Andrew McLemore brings more than 14 years of experience to his position as Associate News Editor for Lola Digital Media. Andrew is also a musician, climber and traveler who currently lives in Medellin, Colombia. When he’s not writing, playing gigs or exploring the outdoors, he’s hanging out with his dog Campana.