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Space transport


Astronauts on a future mission to MarsAstronauts on a future mission to MarsAn astronaut is a person trained to command or serve as a crew member of a spacecraft. Astronauts walking on the Moon, travelling to and from the International Space Station or performing space walks are subjected to environments inhospitable to humans, so a spacesuit is required. These need to be flexible so astronauts can get around easily; they must also be set at the correct temperature, pressure and oxygen levels, and be fitted with a range of safety devices should anything go wrong.

Astronauts aboard the ISSAstronauts aboard the ISS
Spacesuit design for a future Mars MissionSpacesuit design for a future Mars Mission


A fully fitted spacesuit consists of several layers of material. On the outside is a tough fabric to protect against damage from dust storms and to insulate the suit from extremely cold temperatures. Inside is a Liquid Cooling and Ventilation Garment (LCVG), a double-layered body-suit containing a network of fine, water-carrying tubes. This water is pumped around the garment to remove excess heat. Underneath is a Maximum Absorbency Garment (MAG) to absorb and hold body waste hygienically. The Hard Upper Torso (HUT) is a toughened fibreglass shell to which the various "limbs" of the suit are attached, as well as the helmet and the Life Support System backpack. The HUT contains sensors for heart rate, respiration, body temperature, suit temperature and humidity.

An astronaut working outside the ISSAn astronaut working outside the ISS

The longest period anyone has spent in space is 438 days, a record set by the Russian astronaut (known as a cosmonaut in Russia) Valeri Polyakov in 1994–95.

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