The next Americans to set foot on the Moon will do so in a brand new spacesuit that’s based on, but hugely improved from, the original Apollo suits that last went up there in the ’70s. With easier entry, better mobility, and improved communications, these won’t be nearly as clumsy or restrictive — though you still wouldn’t want to wear one around the house.
The new spacesuit, known as the Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit or xEMU, is still deep in development, but its features have been more or less finalized. It’s already being tested underwater, and orbital testing is scheduled for 2023.
Rather than build something completely new from the ground up, NASA engineers decided to address the (sometimes literal) pain points of a previous,