Astronauts can grow up to 7cm as their spines lengthen in the weightlessness of space. The SkinSuit aims to counteract this by squeezing the body from the shoulders to the feet. Scientists hope this will prevent lower back pain and reduce the risk of post-flight slipped-discs.
To test the suit, European Space Agency astronaut Andreas Mogensen wore one on the International Space Station (ISS) in September 2015. We talked to Andreas when he visited the Museum to celebrate Tim Peake’s mission to the ISS.
Innovations like the SkinSuit will be essential to ensure astronauts survive the long trip to Mars and back, without suffering long term damage. But the suit’s technology might also find uses on Earth to helping people with lower-back problems or possibly improve the garments currently used to help people who are bed bound due to illness.
The SkinSuit is on display in the Antenna contemporary science gallery until 13 April 2016.