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

Updated 11 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11 p.m. ET: 19,511,596 — Total deaths: 724,590 — Total recoveries — 11,876,387Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11 p.m. ET: 4,995,369 — Total deaths: 162,461 — Total recoveries: 1,643,118 — Total tests: 61,080,587Map.
  3. Politics: Trump signs 4 executive actions on coronavirus aid — Democrats slam Trump, urge GOP to return to negotiations
  4. Public health: Fauci says chances are "not great" that COVID-19 vaccine will be 98% effective — 1 in 3 Americans would decline COVID-19 vaccine.
  5. Science: Indoor air is the next coronavirus frontline.
  6. Schools: How back-to-school is playing out in the South as coronavirus rages on — Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Howard to hold fall classes online.

Trump signs 4 executive actions on coronavirus aid

President Trump speaking during a press conference on Aug. 8. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump on Saturday signed four executive actions to provide relief from economic damage sustained during the coronavirus pandemic after talks between the White House and Democratic leadership collapsed Friday afternoon.

Why it matters: Because the Constitution gives Congress the power to appropriate federal spending, Trump has limited authority to act unilaterally — and risks a legal challenge if congressional Democrats believe he has overstepped.

10 hours ago - World

What's next for Lebanon after the Beirut explosion

Photo: Houssam Shbaro/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Beirut residents are still clearing rubble from streets that appear war-torn, days after a blast that shocked the country and horrified the world.

Why it matters: The explosion is likely to accelerate a painful cycle Lebanon was already living through — discontent, economic distress, and emigration.