NASA's Orion spacecraft will sport a new metallic look with its thermal coating designed to reduce heat loss and protect astronauts from extreme heat in preparation for its mission to take humans farther in space and on to Mars in the near future.

Orion is designed to take humans for exploration in space, providing emergency abort capability and sustaining the crew in their entire space travel. Its new thermal coating will protect the spacecraft from extreme hot and cold temperatures.

The travel from space to Earth may be too hot and fast for the ship to handle, and this is why the coating is needed to help protect astronauts in the mission. It is one of the most vital parts of the spacecraft because it contains the ship's main heat shield that can withstand its re-entry into Earth's atmosphere. NASA scientists projects Orion's speed to reach 36,000 feet per second. The spacecraft will be facing extremely high temperatures well over 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit that it experienced on its first test last year.

In the next mission of Orion called Exploration Mission-1 or EM-1, the ship will be away for around three weeks and is expected to come back to Earth. NASA expects that during Orion's return, it will experience hotter and faster conditions. Thus, Orion needs due protection for its crew members.

"Orion's thermal protection system is essential to successful future missions. As we move toward building the system for EM-1, we've been able to take advantage of what we learned from building and flying Orion to refine our processes going forward," said John Kowal, NASA's thermal protection system lead for Orion.

Engineers boast that the coating will also prevent heat loss when the spacecraft is going toward deep space where temperatures can become very cold. The thermal ability will also protect Orion and the astronauts inside from extreme heat when the spacecraft is pointed towards the sun during the return flight.

All these improvements and enhancements are done before EM-1 launches on November 2018. The scheduled test flight, which will take Orion into distant orbit around the Moon, was originally scheduled for 2017. Another test, Exploration Mission-2, was moved to 2023 from its original schedule in 2021.

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