On Wednesday, NASA announced the winner of its space suit design challenge: An external layer named "Technology," sporting glow-in-the-dark patterns and electroluminescent wiring, took the top spot with 147,354 votes, or about 63 percent of the ballots cast.
The external cover layer will now become part of the prototype Z-2 space suit, expected to be ready for testing by November. The goal of this new suit? To advance and develop technologies that will lead to the creation of a Z-3 suit (or a future Z-class iteration) that will allow astronauts to walk on Mars.
The Z-2 prototype has made several improvements over Z-1, notably its hard upper torso. The new external cover will protect the non-flight suit from abrasion and snags during testing, NASA said in a statement, while the cover on flight suits will protect the astronaut from extreme temperatures in space and the effects of radiation.