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A Two-Person Job

The Secret Life of Scientists and EngineersThe Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers

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Today’s post is from SLoS associate producer, Laura Willcox.

When Dava Newman came into the “Secret Life” studios, she approached me and asked if I could help her put on her cutting-edge spacesuit for her interview. I’d been very excited to see the suit in person and was, of course, happy to help Dava. What I wasn’t prepared for, though, was the white wetsuit look-alike that Dava pulled from her bag as she said, “Putting this thing on is definitely a two-person job!” Huh? Surely that couldn’t be the suit that was going to be worn in outer space? There didn’t seem to be much to Dava’s Bio-Suit (well, except for the Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles-esque protective “shell” on the back). Curious.

Oh. And I also wasn’t prepared for the fact that, like a wetsuit, you have to get completely naked before you can put on the Bio-Suit (it really is a “second skin”—it goes right over your first one).

A Two-Person Job-laura_for_blog_post.jpg
Yup, that's our Laura!

Suddenly, there with Dava in the SLoS Ladies’ Room, I found myself in the midst of a traumatic flashback to the first time I ever put on a wetsuit—it was during a SCUBA trip I took with a school group. I vividly recall doing my best to gracefully shimmy into an incredibly tight rented wetsuit in front of my peers while our German SCUBA instructor, the only man I’ve ever met named GiGi, dropped trou right in front of us. I hoped Dava wasn’t having quite as harrowing an experience now with me.

Luckily, Dava had a much better sense of humor about having a stranger help her with a costume change. And it turns out that the BioSuit’s skin-tight fit is part of what makes it able to support life in outer space! (Hmm, then what’s YOUR excuse for being so darn tight, wetsuit??) Of course, here on Earth, the Bio-Suit’s intense, direct-to-skin pressure made it a real pain in the moon-boots to put on. It took us about 20 minutes of collective yanking to get the suit on Dava. (And then there was the minor interruption when our production assistant, Maggie, came into the bathroom with a camera to get behind-the-scenes footage—Dava was a very good sport about that….). Finally, Dava had the suit on and was totally ready for her close-up. Seeing the revolutionary Bio-Suit in person, modeled by one of its creators, definitely made it to the top of my “Neat Things I’ve Done” list.

Check out Dava’s videos to find out even more reasons why you’re DEFINITELY gonna want a Bio-Suit when we’re all vacationing on the Moon.