What Are Astronauts Suits Made Of
What Are Astronauts Suits Made Of?
Astronauts carry out their extraordinary missions wearing specialized suits known as Extravehicular Mobility Units (EMUs). These suits are designed to protect astronauts from the harsh conditions of outer space, including extreme temperatures, micrometeoroids, and the vacuum of space. Let’s take a closer look at what these remarkable suits are made of.
The outer layer of an astronaut’s suit is composed of several materials that provide protection against the extreme temperatures of space. The outermost layer is made of a white fabric known as Orthofabric, which is fire-resistant and reflects sunlight to prevent overheating. Underneath the Orthofabric, there is a layer of Mylar insulation, which provides thermal protection by reflecting heat back towards the astronaut’s body.
The EMU also incorporates layers of Kevlar and Nomex, which are highly durable and flame-resistant materials. These layers protect astronauts from micrometeoroids, which are tiny particles that can cause serious damage in space. Kevlar, a synthetic fiber known for its strength, is used in the torso, shoulders, and legs of the suit. Nomex, a heat- and flame-resistant material, lines the suit’s inner layers, providing additional protection against extreme temperatures.
To ensure astronauts can move freely in space, the EMU includes joints with flexible materials. The elbows, knees, and waist are made of a stretchy material called Spandex. This allows astronauts to bend and move comfortably while performing tasks outside the spacecraft.
The helmet of the EMU is made of a clear, impact-resistant polycarbonate material. It is equipped with a sun visor to protect the astronaut’s eyes from bright sunlight and radiation. The helmet also provides a connection for the astronaut’s oxygen supply and communication systems.
Now, let’s address some frequently asked questions about astronauts’ suits:
1. How much does an astronaut’s suit weigh?
An EMU weighs approximately 280 pounds (127 kilograms) on Earth.
2. How long does it take to put on an EMU?
It takes about 45 minutes to put on an EMU with the help of a crewmate.
3. How long can an astronaut stay in a spacesuit?
Astronauts can stay in their suits for up to 8 hours.
4. Can astronauts use the restroom while wearing the suit?
Yes, astronauts wear a diaper during spacewalks to handle bodily functions.
5. Can astronauts scratch an itch in their suit?
No, the suits are pressurized, so astronauts cannot reach inside to scratch an itch.
6. Can the suits protect astronauts from radiation?
The suits provide limited protection against radiation, but astronauts rely on the spacecraft’s shielding for extended radiation exposure.
7. How much does an EMU cost?
Each EMU costs around $12 million.
8. How do astronauts stay cool in their suits?
The suits have a cooling system that circulates chilled water to regulate the astronaut’s body temperature.
9. What happens if a suit gets damaged during a spacewalk?
Astronauts carry repair kits to fix minor damages. In case of significant damage, they must return to the spacecraft immediately.
10. Can astronauts feel the temperature in space through their suits?
No, the suits are temperature-controlled, and astronauts rely on their instrumentation to monitor the environment.
11. How often are the suits inspected and maintained?
Suits are regularly inspected and maintained to ensure their functionality and safety.
12. Can astronauts wear their suits inside the spacecraft?
No, the EMUs are only worn during spacewalks. Inside the spacecraft, astronauts wear more comfortable clothing.