Science 2 min read

Perseverance Rover to Carry the First Spacesuit Materials to Mars

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In a few hours, NASA‘s Perseverance Mars rover will launch with some spacesuit materials.

It’s no secret that NASA intends to send the first astronauts to the surface of Mars. However, the agency must address several challenges to achieve this goal.

For example, Mars has a much thinner atmosphere with gases that don’t support human life. Also, the thin atmosphere allows more radiation from the Sun and cosmic rays reach the planet‘s surface.

To address these challenges, space agencies must figure out what the first Mars colonizers will wear. That’s what Amy Ross, an advanced spacesuit designer at NASA, is doing.

Ross is developing new spacesuits for the Moon and Mars. Now, she’s set to send the first samples of materials to the Red Planet aboard the Perseverance Mars rover.

In a press release from NASA, Amy Ross said:

“On Mars, radiation will break down the chemical composition of the materials, weakening their tensile strength. We want to figure out how long these materials will last. Do we need to develop new materials, or will these hang in there?”

Here’s how it’ll work.

Studying the First Spacesuit Materials on Mars

The Perseverance Mars rover is set to explore Jezero Crater, collecting rocks and soil samples for a future return to Earth.

Simultaneously, an instrument aboard the rover called SHERLOC will study five pieces of spacesuit materials. These include Polycarbonate, Vectran, Ortho-fabric, Teflon, and coated Teflon.

According to Ross, the five materials have various properties that could be useful in a spacesuit.

For example, the Polycarbonate in helmet bubbles and visors can help reduce ultraviolet light. Likewise, the Teflon has a unique coating to repel clouds of dust on the Red Planet.

The goal is to find out how these different materials will endure in the harsh Martian environment. With this information, NASA can design a spacesuit that’ll enable the first astronauts to survive on Mars — and maybe even the Moon.

Mars spacesuits will be more like ones we use for the Moon and less like those for the ISS,” said Ross. “I’m trying to make the Moon suit as much like the Mars suit as possible.

Read More: NASA Scientist Experiments with Growing Radishes on Lunar Soil

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Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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