The man who created the superhero outfits in the Iron Man and Captain America movies has been hired to design the space suits worn by SpaceX astronauts. Company boss Elon Musk says he wants the designs to be “stylish” and “heroic” - rather than the utilitarian outfits typically designed for space travel. Marvel and DC movie legend Jose Fernandez says he has previously taken inspiration from Mr Musk when creating the costume for Iron Man - Robert Downey Jr’s character Tony Stark is modelled on the billionaire inventor. Reports suggest the design is unlikely to be ready until next year. SpaceX wants to carry its first astronauts to the International Space Station then, and plans to take humans to Mars by 2025.
The suit is designed for maximum astronaut productivity on a planetary surface - exploring, collecting samples, and manoeuvring in and out of habitats and rovers.
It is likely that a concept will be drawn up by Mr Fernandez, before being handed over to engineers who will attempt to make it suitable for space travel. The outfits will be to be able to withstand extreme environments, as they will face a variety of temperatures. Temperatures can fall as low as -150C in Earth’s orbit alone, and reach as high as 120C. NASA has said it wants to send its first astronauts to Mars wearing Z-2 suits which will be 3D printed and customised for each crew member. The Tron-style outfits feature red electroluminescent details so they can be better seen in darkness, and are designed to make it easier to walk. NASA says it is aiming for a human mission to Mars in the 2030s.