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Instead of the bulky-looking spacesuits that astronauts wear today, a group of MIT researchers want to "shrink-wrap" the spaceflyers of tomorrow. Current spacesuits could be replaced by a pressurized but skintight suit that would allow for a much better range of motion during exploration, according to scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
"With conventional spacesuits, you're essentially in a balloon of gas that's providing you with the necessary one-third of an atmosphere [of pressure] to keep you alive in the vacuum of space," MIT professor Dava Newman said in a statement.
"We want to achieve that same pressurization, but through mechanical counterpressure — applying the pressure directly to the skin, thus avoiding the gas pressure altogether," she added. "We combine passive elastics with active materials. … Ultimately, the big advantage is mobility, and a very lightweight suit for planetary exploration."