NASA on Tuesday unveiled two spacesuits astronauts will wear when they return to the moon five years from now.
"We are going to the moon in 2024, but we're doing it in a way that's never been done before, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said at the unveiling. "This time when we go to the moon we're going sustainably. In other words we're going to stay for long periods of time," he said.
One of the spacesuits for the Artemis missions is called the Exploration Exravehicular Mobility Unit (xEMU). NASA says the xEMU will have an improved fit and mobility.
"The new lower torso includes advanced materials and joint bearings that allow bending and rotating at the hips, increased bending at the knees, and hiking-style boots with flexible soles," NASA says on its website. "On the upper torso, in addition to the updated shoulder placement, other shoulder enhancements allow astronauts to move their arms more freely and easily lift objects over their heads or reach across their body in the pressurized suit."
NASA also says the xEMU is designed with interchangeable parts so that it can be used for multiple environments, whether it's outside the International Space Station, on the lunar surface, the Gateway in lunar orbit, or on Mars.
Astronauts will also be able to enter the suit through a rear-entry hatch and the helmet will have a quick-swap protective visor. That way, if there is a problem with the visor, the entire helmet doesn't need to be shipped back to Earth for repairs.
The other spacesuit is the Orion Crew Survival System, which will be worn for launch and re-entry on the Orion spacecraft.