The 2,347th Meeting of the Society

April 24, 2015 at 8:00 PM

Powell Auditorium at the Cosmos Club

Advanced Spacesuits

Wearable Technology for Exploring the Solar System

Dava Newman

Professor, Aeronautics, Astronautics and Engineering Systems
Director of Technology and Policy Program, MIT
NASA Deputy Administrator Appointee (Pending Confirmation)

Sponsored by Jeanne Shaw

About the Lecture

This talk will present advanced spacesuit concepts for human exploration of space, particularly Mars, and how these wearable technologies can be used here on earth to enhance mobility and locomotion. Four suits will be discussed: (1) the Gravity Loading Countermeasure Suit; (2) the Variable Vector Countermeasure Suit (V2Suit); (3) the Astronaut Injury Prevention Suit; and (4) the second skin BioSuitâ„¢. The Gravity Loading Countermeasure Suit is for intravehicular activity (IVA) and is designed to alleviate astronaut musculoskeletal loss. It is scheduled to fly to the International Space Station with the year. The V2Suit also is designed for IVA. It embodies a novel concept for countering IVA-associated disorientation and deconditioning. Current research on preventing astronaut injury and providing protection in traditional gas-pressurized spacesuits has led to the development of a novel pressure sensing wearable garment to quantify human-suit interactions, the Astronaut Injury Prevention Suit. The suit has been used to identify hotspots that correlate with astronaut musculoskeletal shoulder injury. A key requirement of human planetary surface exploration is a spacesuit that enables flexible astronaut locomotion. Planetary mobility poses new challenges for spacesuits that can only be met through designs that facilitate natural locomotion while minimizing energy expenditure. The MIT BioSuitâ„¢ System leverages revolutionary design concepts and active materials technologies to provide a technically feasible mechanical counter pressure spacesuit. The lecture will discuss these suits and other advanced concepts in detail.

About the Speaker

DAVA NEWMAN is Professor of Aeronautics, Astronautics and Engineering Systems, and Director of the Technology and Policy Program at MIT. She has also been nominated by President Obama to serve as NASA Deputy Administrator. She carries out multidisciplinary research that combines aerospace biomedical engineering, human-in-the-loop modeling, biomechanics, human interface technology, life sciences and systems analysis. Her research is carried out using mathematical modeling, ground based simulations and in space experiments. Her current research includes work on advanced space suit design, dynamics and control of astronaut motion, assistive technologies to augment human locomotion here on Earth, mission analysis, engineering systems design, and policy analysis. Dava is the author of the textbook, Aerospace Engineering and Design, and an author on more than 100 refereed scientific papers and conference presentations. She earned a BS from Notre Dame, an SM in Technology and Policy from MIT and a PhD in Aerospace Biomedical Engineering from MIT.