Be a dear and put on your pressure suit

What will you wear in space? It may sound unrealistic now, but consider this for a moment anyhow. Will you be trapped in the classic mattress of a suit with a fishbowl for a helmet, or something a little more flattering? Instead of stiff bulky padding would you prefer a space suit which allows to explore weightlessness to its full potential?

At one endlessly fascinating end of the space-wear spectrum is the function-oriented second skin BioSuit envisioned by Professor Dava J. Newman at MIT. Intended for actual extravehicular cosmic exposure, it’s sleek, beautifully functional, and structurally sophisticated, providing pressure and elasticity. And there’s a backpack!

Dava is involved with a remarkable amount of research on topics ranging from human performance in outer space to “Powered Assistive Walking Devices” for use by the handicapped on Earth. Admiration. Awe.

Over at the Spacewear Lite side, we have Rocketplane Kistler who, in conjunction with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, arranged a design contest last year. Simply titled “Hyper Space Couture Design Contest“[!], its goal was to combine form with function and create zero gravity-compatible stylish garments. The winners were to help design clothing for Rocketplane’s unrealized space tourism program.

Rocketplane lost their NASA funding earlier this year and these potential designs will likely never see the light of day, which makes our absence from Hyper Space Design Contest [!] all the more unfortunate.

The somewhat less-functional world of high fashion’s been touched by cosmic inspiration for decades; Hussein Chalayan, Paco Rabanne, and Dolce & Gabbana are just some of the designers who’ve incorporated space influences into their collections. Alt fashion has voluminously addressed the space aesthetic as well, but this topic is best saved for another day. In the meantime, think of Prof. Newman and appreciate her efforts while you enjoy an unreasonably large collection of low-res but google-able 50 years of space-suited actresses. The internet, she provides!

16 Responses to “Be a dear and put on your pressure suit”

  1. fatalfury Says:

    the bio suit is a little evangelion and a little r.e.i. i’m glad that we are finally getting the things that the 1950s thought we would have in the year 1980.

  2. Jerem Morrow Says:


  3. Tanya Says:

    Tangent: Have you seen this?. Makes my day.

  4. Geoff Says:

    That Biosuit is so Venture Bros.

  5. Nadya Says:


    Found it here.. Hot.

  6. Zoetica Says:

    Geoff, I think BioSuit kicks the SpeedSuit’s ass, but I do appreciate a good Jumpsuit on occasion.

  7. Ben Morris Says:

    Geoff: I think I’d pass on a space suit designed by Dr Thaddeus Venture, catastrophic failure is not high on my list of wanted space-wear features.

    Tanya: Wow, that picture is great.

  8. Adarael Says:

    There is a another important factor to consider here, beyond the simple “it is lighter than normal space suits.”
    Namely, THIS suit looks like what we want space suits to look like. That sort of Mass Effect, 2001ish sleek yet 1970s style.

    Of course, I’ve spent too much time working on certain RPGs trying to think of what a ‘cool’ space suit would look like.

  9. Mer Says:

    Hee hee. Geoff, it’s awesome that you call the biosuit “so Venture Brothers.” I mean, most designs for those VB outfits and ships are informed by (if not lifted directly lifted from) past pop culture/retro-future/60s space race/Jonny Quest-style cartoon fads…totally unrealistic and drawn for EPIC FAIL LULZ. Hopefully the more practical aspects of Newman’s design aren’t inspired by similarly ridonkulous “technology”. :)

    Meanwhile, I can haz Fremen stillsuit, plz? With a jetpack?? Wheeee!

  10. Ben Morris Says:

    Mer: While the fremen stillsuit would be nice if we are wishing for Dune related artifacts that don’t actually exist I think I’d rather have the Jodorowsky directed Dune film that never actually got made. Orson Welles as Baron Harkonnen, Salvador Dali as the emperor, Moebius & Giger doing conceptual art, and Magma and Pink Floyd doing the music. That sounds to me like the best thing ever.

  11. D Says:

    I wish they’d make the space equivalent of that kissing-mask.

  12. Mer Says:

    Ben, yeah, I’m familiar with all of the “original Dune” stories as well, and have spent many a soporific evening with Mary Jane and film geek friends discussing this very topic. :) I think I may be one of the only people on the planet who actually really loves the movie Dune that DOES exist. Especially the costume and concept designs.

    The idea of Welles playing Harkonnen is particularly toothsome. It’s disappointing, how dumbed-down he was in the Lynch version. Still, the Jodorowsky production never had a chance owing to all of the enormous, uncompromising egos involved. From what I understand, Jodorowksy (unsurprisingly) had already turned the entire project into an extravagant multi-million-dollar-burning three-ring circus by the end of pre-production. The experience drove Dan O’Bannon to a nervous breakdown. (Thankfully O’Bannon recovered, and Moebius and Giger were brought back for Alien.)

    Also, as much as I love ALL Floyd (up to “The Final Cut” at least), I think their earlier era music would be far more tempting than the stuff they were doing in the mid-to-late 70s. Again, less ego-driven. Roger Water’s dick would have threatened to block out the screen.

    As long as we’re pipe-dreaming, I’ll take some Popol Vuh, please. Even just more Brian Eno and less Toto. ;)

  13. friday links 12.14.07 « Second Verse Says:

    […] Be a dear and put your pressure suit on What is Zoe wearing in 2030? […]

  14. Ben Morris Says:

    You’re right Mer, earlier Floyd would have more suited that film-score. Perhaps thats why the Magma inclusion always excited as much if not more than the Floyd, jazzy prog with Carmina Burana-esque chanting in a made up alien language just seems like something that would fit really well in a Jodorowsky film.

  15. Mer Says:



  16. Zoetica Says:

    Oh my sweet Einstein – Mer, I just saw this. So much win.