Oct 15, 2019

NASA unveils new spacesuit for the Moon and more

Miriam Kramer, author of Space

NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine with spacesuit engineers Amy Ross and Kristine Davis during a demonstration of the new spacesuit. Photo: NASA/Joel Kowsky

NASA's newest spacesuits are designed to allow astronauts to explore the Moon as never before.

Why it matters: The new spacesuits are a key component of NASA's Artemis mission, which is expected to bring humans back to the surface of the Moon by 2024, as directed by the Trump administration.

Details: The suit — called the xEMU — represents an upgrade from the Apollo-era spacesuits used on the lunar surface decades ago.

  • The xEMU has flexible joints to allow astronauts on the Moon's surface to be able to pick up rocks and investigate interesting samples more easily than the stiff suits used by Apollo moonwalkers.
  • It is also made to function in microgravity when needed and will be custom fit to each astronaut who wears one, according to NASA. The space agency also plans to adjust the suit for use on Mars one day.
  • The suit is designed to withstand the extremes of life on the Moon, functioning through temperatures as low as -250°F and as high as 250°F.

"We want you to not have to think about the suit at all," NASA spacesuit engineer Lindsay Aitchison told Axios in July of the agency's plans for the xEMU. "Anything you do just feels like working in your regular shirtsleeves."

But, but, but: The Artemis program still suffers from a lack of support in Congress, and the 2024 landing deadline is an ambitious one that will require billions of dollars in funding between now and then.

Go deeper: NASA needs a new spacesuit

Go deeper

Trump walks to historic St. John's Church outside White House as protests rage

President Trump walked to the historic St. John’s Episcopal Church, located just steps away from the White House across Lafayette Park, on Monday night as protests linked to the murder of George Floyd raged across the capital and cities around the country.

What we're seeing: Military police and park rangers used physical force and tear gas on peaceful protestors to clear the area so that Trump could "pay respects" to the church that was damaged by a fire on Sunday.

Trump threatens to deploy military amid national unrest

President Trump announced from the White House Rose Garden Monday evening that he is "mobilizing all available federal resources, civilian and military" to stop violent protests across the country, decrying "professional anarchists, looters, criminals, antifa and others" whose actions have "gripped" the nation.

The backdrop: Trump's announcement came as police clashed with protesters just outside of the White House, using tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse crowds chanting, "Hands up, don't shoot," and other slogans. Flash bangs used outside the White House could be heard from the Rose Garden.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Autopsies say George Floyd's death was homicide

Police watch as demonstrators block a roadway while protesting the death of George Floyd in Miami. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Preliminary results from an independent autopsy commissioned by George Floyd's family found that his death in the custody of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was "homicide caused by asphyxia due to neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain," according to a statement from the family's attorney.

The latest: An updated official autopsy released by the Hennepin County medical examiner also determined that the manner of Floyd's death was "homicide," ruling it was caused by "cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdued, restraint, and neck compression."