NASA on Wednesday unveiled a new prototype spacesuit as it moves forward with a project to send humans to Mars.
The Z-2 Spacesuit “Technology” design is the latest prototype for a spacesuit that will be able to provide the first astronauts on Mars with a safe and comfortable enclosure.
It’s an upgrade from the Z-1, a suit that provided more flexible joints and radiation protection and which TIME said was one of the best inventions of 2012. NASA says the latest iteration, unlike the Z-1, has a hard composite upper torso designed to provide longer durability. On top of that, some of the joints have been upgraded to optimize mobility.
The Z-2 will take on the “Technology” design, which was selected by 233,431 voters over two other designs, and be ready for testing in November. But the suit will remain in prototype mode, and NASA says improvements to this suit will lead to Z-3.