Science & Technology

Take Me Home Button Future Spacesuit’s Could Save Astronauts

For an astronaut, getting lost in space is certainly one of the biggest nightmares. After all, how to return to the base after a walk without any signaling that guarantees direction of direction? To avoid the problem and ensure that no astronaut gets lost, the engineering company Draper has developed a special suitable to automatically navigate to the ship, taking the person back to his station.

Draper has filed a patent for the automatic-return system and the company has demonstrated how the technology might work in simulations. But in order to fully build a functioning system, Duda says they need a long-term funding from NASA. “The technology we believe is there to package into a solution,” says Duda. “It’s just a matter of commitment from the customer to make this a reality.”

Spacesuit would have “Panic Button” for Astronaut

A NASA astronaut testing out a propulsion unit during an untethered spacewalk

A NASA astronaut testing out a propulsion unit during an untethered spacewalk | Image: NASA

The trick has been to equip space clothing with sensors that accompany movement and position relative to a relatively stationary object, such as a spaceship. The system fires simply: the astronaut simply needs to press a button on the garment.

A NASA astronaut wearing the SAFER jet backpack during a spacewalk.

A NASA astronaut wearing the SAFER jet backpack during a spacewalk.

According to the company, the technology “take me home” should be a standalone system capable of unleashing all the propellants on its own, but remaining open to the possibility of a manual system to guide the astronaut on his return.

The project is still in the patenting phase and has no forecast or even guarantee of use in the space. NASA has, however, supported research and is interested in the advanced space suit. The basic ideas of the technology could still be useful for guiding a deep-sea diver or even a firefighter in the middle of a burning building.

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