A look back: Bruce McCandless II, from Space Shuttle Challenger, first using the Manned Maneuvering Unit in 1984.
A look back: Bruce McCandless II, from Space Shuttle Challenger, first using the Manned Maneuvering Unit in 1984.

Self-Sustaining Space Suit in Works

To use body heat for energy

A look back: Bruce McCandless II, from Space Shuttle Challenger, first using the Manned Maneuvering Unit in 1984.
Erik Tormoen

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Researchers say a next-generation space suit could monitor astronauts’ health and use their body heat to power electronics.

Developed at Kansas State University, the space suit would incorporate biosensor technology to keep track of astronauts’ vitals, such as breathing rate and muscle activity.

The reseachers, who include students and professors, are also looking to use the temperature difference between body heat and the space suit’s cooling garment to power radios and other electronics.

Batteries are too dangerous to place in an astronaut’s oxygen-rich space suit, researchers told The Associated Press, spurring their interest in new energy-harvesting methods.

Producing spinoff technologies, such as new radio technologies and devices that apply to home care, will comprise the last part of the unversity’s research.

To view a history of space suits sported by NASA astronauts, click here.

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