NASA explores the fashionable frontier

BY Margaret Myers  April 7, 2014 at 12:24 PM EST

According to the NASA spacesuit voting site, the "Trends in Society" design is based on what everyday clothes may look like in the not too distant future.

According to the NASA spacesuit voting site, the “Trends in Society” design is based on what everyday clothes may look like in the not too distant future.

Who says astronauts can’t be fashionable in the Final Frontier — or at least while in training? Not NASA, which is why the space agency has launched a contest to select a style that will serve as a cover for their latest prototype spacesuit, the Z-2.

Online voters can select one of three designs that will be used as a cover to protect the spacesuit from abrasions while astronauts train in multiple vacuum chamber tests and at a rocky Martian surface analog site at the Johnson Space Center. Ultimately, these tests will guide NASA in designing their next spacesuit.

As of April 7, the "Technology" design was the lead vote-getter. Photo by NASA

As of April 7, the “Technology” design was the lead vote-getter. Photo by NASA

The design names reflect the designers’ inspiration: “Biomimicry,” “Technology” and “Trends in Society.” The styles were produced in collaboration with ILC, the primary suit vendor; and Philadelphia University School of Design and Engineering.

“Space is cool. Shouldn’t spacesuits be?” NASA’s Amy J. Ross, the lead for advanced pressure garment development, told The (Wilmington, Del.) News Journal. “So far the ‘Technology’ design is winning by a good margin over the other two.”

Voting is open through April 15.

The "Biomimicry" design features electroluminescent wire that becomes apparent in reduced light. Photo by NASA

The “Biomimicry” design features electroluminescent wire that becomes apparent in reduced light. Photo by NASA