The spacesuit used to walk on the moon in 1969 is almost the same as the spacesuit NASA uses in 2019 — but with slight modifications. The Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU), an air-tight suit that allows astronauts to work outside of their spacecraft by providing protection from the extreme conditions of space, was introduced in 1989. Astronauts in 2019 use this suit when embarking on spacewalks.

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If NASA decides to send astronauts back to the moon, or explore mars, they would need to redesign the current suit due to the lack of mobility modern suits have in their lower regions. In general, the current suit contains more updated technology than the 1969 suit. Hand movements are also prioritized in the modern suit: astronauts “walk” with their hands, maneuvering around the spacecraft using hand railings due to the weak gravity pull.

New space suits are being produced by Boeing and SpaceX to get astronauts ready to walk on more surfaces in space. Neil Armstrong’s suit in 1969 was designed for moving with feet. The 2019 spacesuits are designed to move with your hands. Hopefully by 2069 there will be a spacesuit that can do both.

All information courtesy of Cathleen Lewis, Space History department, National Air and Space Museum and NASA.

(Jennifer Luxton / The Seattle Times)
(Jennifer Luxton / The Seattle Times)