What You’ll Be Wearing in Space

BioSuit™, a form-fitting next-generation spacesuit prototype by MIT aeronautics and astronautics professor Dava Newman displayed in the AMNH exhibition. © AMNH\D. Finnin

If the wizards at MIT have their way, the future look on Mars (for us) will be spandex, nylon, and polymer. It’s the look that’s featured in the soon-to-close show at AMNH, Life Beyond Planet Earth: The Future of Space Exploration.

Some of the highlights include a model of Yuri Gagarin’s 1961 space capsule (don’t walk by it in the entry to the show!), Soviet and US space helmets, the “smell” of the Moon, a model of Sir Richard Branson’s space-tourist vehicle, and a space elevator.  (Didn’t you ever wonder how you’d get back from another planet?)

There are two great interactive opportunities – sitting down at a small console to skim over the surface of Mars and a big, well-lit interactive table (near the spacesuit) that lets you and others trigger modifications to Mars that eventually transform it into a habitable Earth colony.

Again, you can’t beat those 1950s letters to the Hayden Planetariumto get the juices flowing about the promise of space travel. Now, were do we order the suits?

Exhibition model of the Vostok capsule, in which Yuri Gagarin became the first person in space on April 12, 1961. © AMNH\R. Mickens

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