Researchers are working on a so-called happy suit for astronauts that will feature technology to make life in space much easier and less stressful.
It might look like it is fun to live in space, with reports like the International Space Station Astronauts making pizza in zero gravity. However, depression is a major problem in space, and the "happy suit" will look to provide a boost to the psychological well-being of astronauts.
How Will The 'Happy Suit' Help Astronauts?
Astronauts undergo rigorous training to prepare them for stressful situations, but it is understandably hard to maintain a positive attitude while up in space. This is because of factors such as lack of sleep, excessive light exposure, low-gravity strains, insufficient exercise, isolation from loved ones, and the high-pressure working conditions with a very small room for error.
Florida Polytechnic University professors Dr. Arman Sargolzaei and Dr. Melba Horton, along with Computer Science student James Holland, are working on a product that they have named S3, which stands for Smart Sensory Skin.
According to an official release, the technology will be able to detect any physical and emotional deficiencies in astronauts through a bevy of wireless sensors. Upon detection of any deficiencies, the "happy suit" equipped with these sensors will make changes to fit the needs of the wearer. Examples of things that can be adjusted by the "happy suit" include temperature, oxygen levels, light color, and light exposure. The final design will allow doctors on Earth to keep an eye on the blood pressure, pulse, and other vital signs of the astronauts.
Currently, the functions of the technology come in the form of uncomfortable and cumbersome systems that requires the collected data to be reviewed by a doctor before changes can be made. In comparison, the Smart Sensory Skin is more ergonomic and lightweight, merging with the clothing of astronauts, and are capable of making changes immediately.
The Smart Sensory Skin is being developed in collaboration with NASA, with the project receiving a grant from the Florida Space Research Program.
Solving The Challenges Of Living In Space
The Smart Sensory Skin is far from being the only recent initiative that looks to solve the problems of living in space.
Last month, a new study offered a potential solution to one of the biggest challenges to long-term space travel, with a system developed to convert human waste into food. Interestingly, predominantly male NASA engineers even created a prototype makeup kit for female astronauts.