Space Suit of the Week

The image above is from Man and Space, a book published in 1964 as part of the LIFE Science Library series. I found a portion of the series in a junk shop vintage book store in Florence, Alabama. The suit is not named, so we can call it Humpty-Dumpty-goes-to-Space suit. Similar to the Grumman moon suit, I think the HDGTS suit is as much determined by scientific conjecture as it is by hopeful scientist. And by hopeful, I mean “I hope Astronaut Mike Dexter doesn’t slice his feet off.”

Last week, I learned that the crotch window of the Grumman moon suit was absolutely necessary so that the astronaut could see his feet as he walked over the moon’s irregular surface. But the HDGTS suit doesn’t allow the astronaut to see his feet, which is sad since the shoes of this moon suit are almost as stylish as the shoes of the Grumman moon suit. Hazzards abound on the moon, and while this eggcelent design protects against Gamma Rays, Cosmic Rays, and Micrometeorites, it doesn’t seem to help the astronaut avoid the hazards of his own clumsy feet.

Yet, as strange as this looks, the suit under the egg shell is actually very similar to space suits that were used by NASA. It’s basically an Apollo suit, characterized by multiple, functional layers including tubes that circulated cold water around to regulate the astronaut’s body temperature. Still, none of this explains how a cat got trapped inside the helmet.

April 23, 2010