Feeds

ESA commissions super spacesuit

PCB, LCD, ECG, GPS and machine washable

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Build a business case: developing custom apps

The European Space Agency (ESA) today launched a project which it hopes will generate ideas for the next generation of spacesuits. The ultimate goal is to develop a suit that will allow a human being to explore the surface of Mars, while providing real-time monitoring of vital signs and location.

The second StarTiger project (Space Technology Advancements by Resourceful, Targeted and Innovative Groups of Experts and Researchers) will be run in Finland at the Tampere University of Technology (TUT). TUT was selected becuase of its many years of research experience in designing so-called "Smart" clothes.

The StarTiger2 suit, known as the STAR-suit, will feature a whole range of technologies and functions. As well as all the sensor and commumication technologies it will need to take physiological measurements, the suit is likely to feature flexible printed circuit boards and liquid crystal display materials; as well as advance fabrics and embedded electronics.

The ESA explains that the suit will address one of the biggest needs on a space misison: the safety of the astronaut. Space is an extraordinarily harsh environment, and its effects are not wholly understood. Health checks are possible before and after flights, but nothing has yet been able to provide continuous monitoring.

"The final objective is to know in real-time and continuously the physiological status of the person being monitored without hindering what he or she has to do," explains Eike Kircher, head of ESA's Basic Technology Research Programme.

The bare minimum features list is for the suit to be capable of heart and respiratory rate monitoring, and motion and temperature sensoring. Additional items such as a vascular index and electrocardiogram - as well as a global positioning system - are also being planned. All user interfaces and communication systems will be integrated in the clothing, which, as a final practical consideration, must also be washable.

Although the long-term goal may be Mars, STAR-suit's first outing is likely to be to Antarctica's Concordia Science Station. ®

Related stories

US space tourist set for blast-off
Great Wall not visible from space: official
Hack NASA and crash a shuttle
Nanotechnology may be over-hyped

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
LOHAN packs bags for SPACEPORT AMERICA!
Spanish launch goes titsup, we're off to the US of A
Gigantic toothless 'DRAGONS' dominated Earth's early skies
Gummy pterosaurs outlived toothy competitors
'Leccy racer whacks petrols in Oz race
ELMOFO rakes in two wins in sanctioned race
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
Astronomers scramble for obs on new comet
Amateur gets fifth confirmed discovery
Boffins build CYBORG-MOTHRA but not for evil: For search & rescue
This tiny bio-bot will chew through your clothes then save your life
Vulture 2 takes a battering in 100km/h test run
Still in one piece, but we're going to need MORE POWER
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.