ESA Seeks New Spacesuit Material for Lunar Astronauts. But It Has to Be the Right Stuff.

The European Space Agency (ESA) is searching for potential spacesuit materials that would best protect future lunar astronauts from the inhospitable conditions of the moon.

On Jan. 19, the Paris-based intergovernmental organization signed a two-year agreement with Comex and its partners the German Institute of Textile Technology and Process Engineering and the Austrian Space Forum to investigate not only existing spacesuit materials but also more nascent innovations with useful properties such as self-healing capabilities, dust repellence and integrated circuitry.

“The identification and test of such materials could serve the development of future European spacesuits for spacewalks on the moon and is in line with ESA’s exploration strategy to return to the moon in the coming decades,” ESA officials said in a statement.

The project, dubbed Pextex, will commence with a workshop in May to discuss potential materials.

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