Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Box Spacesuit

It doesn't need to be shaped like a person
  [vote for,

This particular space-suit is a design specifically for on- orbit EVA; some of the design features make it unusable for either surface or intra-vehicular use.

The design is simple: start with a box. This box is tall enough for a kneeling astronaut; it is wide and deep enough for said astronaut to turn around. At the front- top edge, a transparent-faced space helmet protrudes; out of the front of the box, a pair of arms. Those portions are not notably different from current equipment.

Instead of trying to pretend that the suit is an article of clothing, with the astronaut struggling into "pants" and "coat", this suit is a self-contained vehicle, and is entered through an airlock. Half of the airlock is mounted on the space vehicle, the other half is on the back, or bottom, of the suit-box.

After entering the suit and closing it off, the astronaut - who is wearing a harness - attaches the shoulder and waist points of the harness to cables which wind in to secure the attached astronaut, chest-first, to the front of the suit. Inserting his arms into the suit arms, he then has good leverage and stability to operate the arms.

In addition to the main suit arms, an additional pair of "arms" - robotic servo-driven arms - are attached to the sides of the suit-box. These are substantially longer and stronger than a human's arms; they can be controlled by setting them to mimic the motion of the astronaut's arm, or can be controlled remotely, and they can be locked in any position - thus serving as an attachment point, making up for the one thing lost in not suiting up the astronaut's legs.

The astronaut can release the harness cables, and take a break from being strapped to the front of the suit. Thus released, he can blow his nose, scratch, wipe sweat out of his eyes, eat a sandwich, or curl up for a nap.

Protection of the astronaut becomes much easier - only the arms need to maintain flexibility, and if an arm is compromised, the astronaut can pull his arm free and put a plug in the shoulder joint. The rest of the suit can be structurally solid, shielded as necessary, and generally robust.

This suit should add substantial capability for long- duration EVA, and be a little more true to the one-size-fits- several ideal.

lurch, Apr 16 2013

Space Activity Suit http://en.wikipedia...Space_activity_suit
What [MB] remembers [lurch, Apr 16 2013]

Prior art: http://assets.inhab.../robot2-537x432.jpg
[piluso, Apr 17 2013]

Arctic whatever Arctic_20explorer_2..._20horse_20costumes
[not_morrison_rm, Apr 17 2013]


       So, a sort of 2001-a-space-oddysey pod, then, but with armholes? I see the advantage of having some room to maneuver* inside the suit, but also some disadvantages in trying to maneuver around obstacles.   

       *why does the spellchecker object to "maneuver", and also to "manoeuver"?
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 16 2013

       By the way, at one time there was a proposal (out there, in the so-called 'real world') to replace the spacesuit with a glorified mesh bodysuit and enclose only the head in a pressurized helmet. Whatever happened to that?
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 16 2013

       The Space Activity Suit.   

       From Wikipedia: //In order to effectively provide the minimum pressure of 29.6 kilopascals (220 mmHg; 4.3 psi) necessary for human physiology, the suit had to be extremely tight-fitting, making donning and doffing a highly strenuous task.//
lurch, Apr 16 2013

       Larry Niven's "Footfall" had emergency balloons that were similar to this. I heard that NASA went from custom tailored to Small, Medium, Large, XL format for their space folks.
normzone, Apr 16 2013

       That explains it. However, it is good to know that astronauts 'don' and 'doff'. Clearly the British Space Programme has left a legacy.
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 16 2013

       I'd say this idea is quite halfbaked by various spacesuit concepts. Probably the biggest reason it hasn't happened is because boxy spacesuits are fugly. [MB], partial pressure suits Like that have been used in high altitude aircraft since the 50s but they are completely unworkable as actual spacesuits, that's why.
DIYMatt, Apr 16 2013

       [+] for a be-armed pod with supplementary grapplers which I don't think has been posited yet. Of course being forced to curl up inside of it is going to endear you to pretty well nobody that has to wear one for more than 5 minutes at a time.   

       Regarding a suit/facility airlock: for Lunar usage, where dust is going to be a PITA, having a normally unpressurized "suit garage", where all the suits are attached to their own airlocks in the wall, each opening into a pressurized "locker room" in the facility, makes good sense: keeps the dust out of the air recycler.
FlyingToaster, Apr 16 2013

       One could actually have arms, legs, face plates and other desirable appendages and appurtenances in the front as well as the back, allowing two astronauts to share the suit and so double the work done during a space walk.
bungston, Apr 16 2013

       The words "flatulence" spring to mind.
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 16 2013

       One of my thoughts was that two suits should be able to attach airlocks, thus enabling either shared multi-arm work, or rendering assistance to a disabled astronaut if need arose.   

       [MB] - I think the invention of a "sealed, overboard- venting astronaut diaper" is entirely within my capability. Or even that of your draftsman, were he to deign to draw such a device.   

       //pantomime horse// ... ... well, if the airlock *was* placed on the bottom of the box...
lurch, Apr 16 2013

       A single-person space capsule, with sets of arms.   

       As I recall, the astronaut in Space Odyssey had a bit of difficulty because he didn't bring along his red space helmet.
whlanteigne, Apr 17 2013

       //Darn, now I want to see the Hubble fixed by a pantomime horse.   

       I would pay good money to see that.   

       Hmm, I see a secondary market for the arctic explorer pantomime horse outfit. Who can forget the moment on that ISS EVA when we heard the words "Dobbin, we have a problem".
not_morrison_rm, Apr 17 2013

       One small step for man one giant leap for Dobbin.
skinflaps, Apr 17 2013

       Seems I might get a chance to find out, Mars One (the privately funded Mars shot for 2023) are recruiting.   

       Obviously as the owner of my own pantomime horse space suit, I'd go straight to the top of the application list, wouldn't I?
not_morrison_rm, Apr 17 2013

       //Obviously as the owner of my own pantomime horse space suit, I'd go straight to the top of the application list, wouldn't I?//   

       See, if you start the trend of providing your own equipment, I'm going to be expected to bring along my own phaser, communicator, and tricorder.
whlanteigne, Apr 18 2013

       Maybe if we all bring some fireworks, we can kludge them together into a booster?   

       Incidentally, I'm going for a job interview at a low security mental hospital in 10 days or so. Is is better to mention spending my time on HB, or to draw a veil over it?
not_morrison_rm, Apr 19 2013

       Depends on whether you're applying for a job as an inmate or a looker-afterer.
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 19 2013

       Maybe it's like being ship's crew - sometimes you're on duty, sometimes you're off...
lurch, Apr 20 2013


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