It's been 50 years since a human was last on the moon, and it's safe to say that a lot has changed since then. But spacesuits? Not so much. To the untrained eye, the new spacesuits NASA unveiled look pretty similar to the ones Buzz and Neil wore on their maiden voyage: bulky, white, and with funny tubular arms and legs. But according to NASA, they've made some important changes.
First of all, they're not called spacesuits anymore. They are now Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Units, or xEMUs. Perhaps the most significant change to the spacesuit is that it is now made to fit people of all sizes - that means men and women. As mentioned before, a lot has changed since the 1970s, and that includes the role of gender in society. So, in light of the inclusivity of our age, the xEMUs can fit people from the first percentile female to the 99th percentile male (which means very short women to very tall men).
Another major change is that the xEMUs have much better leg movement than the original spacesuits, which seemed to cause a few problems for Buzz and Neil (but resulted in funny footage of astronauts falling over on the moon). Advanced Space Suit Engineer Kristine Davis (who is modelling the suit) was able to bend down and pick up a rock, which doesn't seem like much but it's a lot more than the Apollo suits could manage.
The xEMU can protect it's wearer from temperatures between -250 and 250 degrees Fahrenheit. This is crucial because the temperatures on the moon change dramatically whether astronauts are in direct sunlight or shade (especially the south pole of the moon).
The new spacesuits still feature a backpack which contains a life support system that holds oxygen, removes gases, odor and moisture from the suit, regulates the temperature, and monitors performance of the astronaut, providing warnings when necessary.
The xEMUs will be used for moonwalking - no, not that kind of moonwalking - while the orange suit is a thermal suit that will be worn during launch and re-entry. This suit is proof that progress is underway for the Artemis mission, and I don't know about you, but I'm pretty excited for the next moon landing. At least I'll live through this one so I can judge for myself if it's a hoax or not.
Despite all the changes, there's one important thing that hasn't changed: the astronauts will still have to wear diapers.