Voters choose ‘Tron-inspired’ space suit for NASA’s Mars mission

Public opts to give Mars mission Tron-esque rather than sportswear or fish-themed designs.

Hundreds of thousands of voters picked NASA’s Tron-like space suit as astronauts’ latest look, after the agency put the suit’s aesthetics up to a public vote.

The winning Z-2 has a technology theme, and was said to look like the “scuba outfit on an upcoming alien first person shooter on Xbox One” when the competition was launched. It was chosen over suits representing ‘trends in society’, intended to look like sportswear of the future, and ‘biomimicry’, which was based on bioluminescent fish.

The Z-2’s most distinct look is its electroluminescent wiring, which has never been used before in a space suit and led many to conclude that it was inspired by 1982 film Tron

Astronauts wearing the suit will be put into a Neutral Buoyancy Lab, a large pool used to simulate space

Over 63% of the votes, 233,431 people, chose the suit, which is expected to be ready for testing by November 2014. It will be trialled in a mock-up of a rocky Martian surface at the Johnson Space Center, where it will be exposed to a vacuum among other tests.

This suit will never make it into space, but “each iteration of the Z-series will advance new technologies that one day will be used in a suit worn by the first humans to step foot on the Red Planet,” the agency said.

The suit is an improvement on the prototype Z-1, and adds a hard upper torso and new shoulder and hip joints. The agency has also improved the boots and the suit’s ability to handle a full-vacuum environment.