ESA reveals a concept space glove for future astronauts that would allow them to control rovers with a flick of the wrist – and it also comes with a laser range-finder
- Concept glove was created to show the potential of future spacesuit material
- Includes an in-built laser range-finder for objects on the moon or other planets
- Gesture control would allow the astronauts to direct and control robots
- An in-built display in the glove would also show the wearer vital status updates
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Astronauts rely on highly-engineered and sophisticated pieces of equipment to survive in space, and none are more essential than the parts which form their suit.
Now, the European Space Agency (ESA) has revealed a concept glove that makes the protective equipment smarter and more interactive for the wearer.
It will feature a range-finding laser, a display screen to show the suit’s status and gesture control technology allowing people to control machines, such as the martian drone or lunar rover, with a flick of the wrist.
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The European Space Agency (ESA) has revealed a concept glove that makes the protective equipment smarter and more interactive for the wearer. It will feature a range-finding laser, a display screen to show the suit’s status and gesture control technology allowing people to control machines, such as the martian drone or lunar rover, with a flick of the wrist
The glove created by the European Space Agency has been made as part of a project from French company Comex and designer Agatha Medioni.
It incorporates various futuristic textiles developed by ESA in a bid to create innovative space suit materials for the Moon.
The glove is almost completely airtight and waterproof and is designed to withstand temperatures ranging from as low as -170°C to +120°C.
It has been decked out with three high-tech capabilities, far removed from the gloves Neil Armstrong wore almost 51 yeas ago on Apollo 11.
However, technology will be more crucial than ever before when humans return to the surface of other celestial bodies, whether the moon, Mars or another planet.
The glove featured by the European Space Agency has been created via a project from French company Comex and designer Agatha Medioni. It incorporates futuristic textiles and concepts developed by ESA in a bid to create innovative space suit materials for the Moon
The gloves will have the ability to control a robot, similar to a martian drone or lunar rover, with gestures alone.
An integrated laser can measure distances and an in-built display on the back of the glove will show the status of vital supplies, such as oxygen levels.
The latter is an improvement on an existing feature which shows this information on the astronaut’s chest.
However, this can only be viewed using a mirror on the astronaut’s wrist.
According to a statement sent out by the ESA: ‘Bonus features of a future European spacesuit material might include self-repair, energy harvesting, integrated sensors, robot control and displays.
‘The materials for the Pextex project will be tested with the partner organisations in France (Comex), Germany (DITF) and Austria (Austrian Space Forum, OeWF) and will run for two years.’
HOW DO ASTRONAUTS GO TO THE TOILET?
On board the ISS there is a toilet which has several attachments.
As there is no gravity in space, liquids do not flow but accumulate in floating globes.
To counter this problem, there are hoses which are used and provide pressure to suck the fluid from the body.
Each astronaut has their own personal attachment.
When a toilet is not available or the astronaut is on a space-walk, the astronauts use MAGs (maximum absorbency garments) which are diapers that soak up all the waste.
They are effective for short missions but have been known to leak occasionally.
Nasa is aiming to develop a suit which allows for long-term spacesuit usage and complete independent disposal of human waste.
On the moon missions there was no toilet and the all-male crew had ‘condom catheter’s that attached to the penis and the fluid was fed to a bag that resided outside of the suit.
According to an 1976 interview with astronaut Rusty Schweickart, the condom catheters came in three sizes: small, medium and large.
Despite the practical advantages of having the right size, the astronauts often ordered the large ones and this resulted in a leakage of urine in the suit.
To combat this, Nasa renamed the sizes as large, gigantic, and humongous to appease the male ego.
There has yet to be an effective female equivalent developed, something Nasa aims to change for the Orion missions.