How will future space suits differ from the current ones? As space is explored, footwear for astronauts is keeping pace. NASA claims their new soft boots are designed for real walking.
Currently, astronauts don’t “walk” in space. They hover and float, or their feet are placed into foot restraints so they don’t drift away. Space suits are somewhat flexible; they can bend at the knees and rotate at the waist. But no nuanced space shuffles or relay races quite yet.
Ever ahead in their thinking, NASA envisions that astronauts will go to Mars one day. With that prospect, they need to be suited up to explore alien terrain on foot or in their vehicles. NASA’s soft boots will take them there.
Photo source: http://www.nasa.gov/missions/shuttle/f_boots.html
As a young Canadian boy, Chris Hadfield had dreamt of becoming an astronaut and walking in space. Before realizing this goal, he had to confront his very real fear of danger. Now a retired astronaut, Chris Hadfield reminisces about his experience:
“I was outside on my first spacewalk when suddenly my left eye slammed shut and was in great pain – some substance had leaked into it, and it had gone blind. I thought, ‘Well, maybe that’s why we have two eyes.’ So I kept working, but unfortunately without gravity, tears don’t fall. You just get a bigger and bigger ball of whatever got into your eye mixed with your tears until the surface tension takes it across the bridge of your nose like a tiny waterfall into your other eye. Now I was completely blind outside the spaceship.”
Using a bizarre ‘walking’ strategy, Hadfield had trained for this face-to-face encounter with danger. He offered details at the TED Conference in Vancouver. Check the link below for his recommended training on how to overcome fear.