Lt. Commander
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 130
# 11
08-10-2013, 11:03 PM
It's a pressurized suit, and necessarily so. It's like being in a balloon. How could modern tech provide a skin-tight experience? One could speculate that hypothetical Trek tech could mean some kind of portable force field, rather than a physical suit, but then you still have to account for breathing. We breathe the very pressurized gas that sustains us, so I don't see how anything short of a drastic redesign of the entire human body could produce anything like a spandex space suit. Maybe an automatic portable holoemitter that perpetually coats the entire body, inside and out, with a super-thin replicated layer of perfectly heated breathable gas at the correct micro-pressure? Then taking a stroll out on your hull to spank all dem Borgz vandalizing your deflector dish will be no different than walking out your front door to collect your mail. Then you wouldn't need any life support on your ships! Hell, it's the 25th century; let's terraform the entirety of space, such that all magnitudes are at least photonically filled with breathable ether at the perfect pressure. They'll replicate nutrients right on the surface of the stomach, transport free radicals away while constantly restructuring cells to a youthful state. Q said life is all about the unknown possibilities of existence. Let's turn the universe into a vast perpetually regenerative pool in which all lifeforms will forever float like immortal plankton, brains constantly stimulated to feel unimaginable pleasures. Is this progress? Let's get real: what's the point of all activity? What the hell do we live and die for? Is there nothing more? Are we no better than V'ger? Worse off? And if this is all there is, why resist the Borgz?

Last edited by giannicampanella; 08-10-2013 at 11:13 PM.
Career Officer
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 27
# 12
08-10-2013, 11:08 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by f9thaceshigh View Post
the fact of the matter is that NASA's current generation of space suits aren't bulky because of the technology, we already have the tech for skintight space activity suits, NASA's space suits are bulky because NASA likes them that way, the bulky design provides more protection for the astronaut from the elements, and allows them to carry more consumables.
You are incorrect.

We are working on the technology for skintight space suits. It's coming along nicely, but it's not ready for primetime yet. There are still a number of issues that need to be solved, chief among them maintaining tension in the right areas of the body (they're based on the principle that the human skin is a very good suit already, but not perfect, and needs mechanical pressure at places like the inside elbows to keep from suffering some internal damage).

The reason modern space suits are so bulky is because they have to be pressurized. The entire thing. They are basically very big, very durable body-shaped balloons that have an internal pressure roughly equal to Earth's atmosphere.

As for the thread topic, STO's environmental suits? They're actually a lot less bulky than an equivalent "modern" spacesuit would look in the same situation. Also, if you tried to beam down to any of the Tholian zones in a present-day spacesuit, you'd roast alive. Trek spacesuits don't just provide basic vacuum survivability, they're full-on hostile environment protection.

EDIT: I didn't see gianni's post before I made mine. You would be surprised how simple the tech to make a skintight spacesuit is; we're actually getting pretty close. It turns out the human body is very good at maintaining internal pressure and, over the vast majority of the human body, the skin is completely airtight. The basic idea of a skintight spacesuit is just to apply mechanical pressure to keep everything in place, and prevent bruising at joints & etc. if I'm remembering right. At that point all they have to pressurize is the area around the head. This is one of my pet Nifty Topics, I really recommend a glance over the wikipedia page and following various links. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_activity_suit

Last edited by tunod; 08-10-2013 at 11:12 PM.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 130
# 13
08-10-2013, 11:28 PM
What a fascinating article and subject, tunod! One nagging thing (you know more about it than I do) is how such a space activity suit can heat the body in the shade and cool the body in sunlight. With a conventional air pressurization suit, the temperature of the air between the body and the suit material can be regulated, but how can such regulation be achieved with a design that requires skin-tight contact for mechanical pressure equilibrium?
Career Officer
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 27
# 14
08-11-2013, 12:11 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by giannicampanella View Post
What a fascinating article and subject, tunod! One nagging thing (you know more about it than I do) is how such a space activity suit can heat the body in the shade and cool the body in sunlight. With a conventional air pressurization suit, the temperature of the air between the body and the suit material can be regulated, but how can such regulation be achieved with a design that requires skin-tight contact for mechanical pressure equilibrium?
Well, believe it or not, the shade isn't as much of a problem as you'd expect. In the short term, at least, space is actually a very good heat insulator in and of itself. The reason you get cold is because your body is passing on that heat to the surrounding air, the ground, etc. etc.; whereas in space, there's nowhere for that heat to go. The same principle has been used to make insulated containers - just create a layer of vacuum between the inside and outside surface. Over the long term, you'd cool, certainly, but in the short term you'd be just fine outside of sunlight.

Now, getting cool is another matter. I'm not actually sure how they intend to keep space activity suit relatively cool when it's soaking up sunlight; I understand that the cooling system for modern spacesuits takes up a good portion of the backpack. I'll have to do some digging to see if they've nailed that problem yet or it's still one they have an issue with.
Commander
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 417
# 15
08-12-2013, 09:33 PM
Are real life spacesuits still tethered to the ISS and the craft going to and from it?
Career Officer
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 27
# 16
08-12-2013, 11:44 PM
So far as I know, yes. I can't see any reason they wouldn't be; no one wants to go drifting off into space, after all.
Rihannsu
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 803
# 17
08-13-2013, 12:15 AM
yes and no, as I understand it, they don't need to be tethered for lifesupport anymore because of the backpacks, and during the shuttle program they routinely operated untethered, they even had maneuvering thruster packs during the early shuttle missions, but the astronauts on ISS usually use tethers for safety.

My mistake on the skintight suits, I thought NASA was further along then that in their development, although we still understand the principle behind them. My main point, of course, that NASA just prefers the bulkier suits, is still sound.

The basic principle behind Space Activity Suits is that the suit substitutes mechanical pressure for air pressure on the astronaut's body, literally pressing tight against the astronaut's skin so that only the helmet needs to be pressurized with air.
Lieutenant
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 66
# 18
08-14-2013, 03:47 PM
As C-Store suits go, I really want TOS and Enterprise style EV suits.
Career Officer
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,508
# 19
08-15-2013, 09:21 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by f9thaceshigh View Post
as I understand it, they don't need to be tethered for lifesupport anymore because of the backpacks, and during the shuttle program they routinely operated untethered, they even had maneuvering thruster packs during the early shuttle missions, but the astronauts on ISS usually use tethers for safety.
Interesting conversation. The Manned Maneuvering Unit was deemed too risky after the Challenger disaster, and tethered spacewalks have been policy ever since. You're right though, in that I don't think the tethers are required for life support functions.

As far as the in-game EV suits go, I would be okay if future suits were slightly less bulky than the typical ones in-game (the Fed and KDF C-Store suits look about right to me). I don't mind the ones we've got, though - I just always assumed they were more heavy-duty, industrial suits with lots of redundancies and backup systems.
Captain
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 2,932
# 20
08-15-2013, 09:28 AM
The spacesuits are the way they are because they are for combat. Otherwise, Star Trek peoples wouldn't even need spacesuits, they have magic forcefields they already use for stuff like that. As such, STO spacesuits have to be designed with multiple levels of redundant anti-space and hostile environment protection, as well as protection from any of those things being shot.
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