A quick follow-up to What is the power requirement of a spacesuit?

The Apollo 11 crew were in a vacuum out on Luna; their space-suits fulfilled the purpose of a basic space-suit about which Wikipedia writes to say

A space suit is a garment worn to keep a human alive in the harsh environment of outer space, vacuum and temperature extremes. Space suits are often worn inside spacecraft as a safety precaution in case of loss of cabin pressure, and are necessary for extra-vehicular activity (EVA), work done outside spacecraft. Space suits have been worn for such work in Earth orbit, on the surface of the Moon, and en route back to Earth from the Moon. Modern space suits augment the basic pressure garment with a complex system of equipment and environmental systems designed to keep the wearer comfortable, and to minimize the effort required to bend the limbs, resisting a soft pressure garment's natural tendency to stiffen against the vacuum. A self-contained oxygen supply and environmental control system is frequently employed to allow complete freedom of movement, independent of the spacecraft.

Colonization would probably require some manned missions to do the basic spade-work.

Say a manned mission heads out to Mars -

  • Could the suits evaluated for Luna/Earth Orbit be used on Mars as-is?
    • E.g. Orlan

Say the same, or another mission trots over to ... oh, Titan

  • Could the Titan mission possibly use the suits designed/constructed for Mars?

Is it necessary to design/configure an EVA-suit for each type of Celestial atmosphere?

  • $\begingroup$ p.s. The mention of Titan is exempli gratia; the important thing is whether such a thing as a 'universal' suit for multiple environment/s may be designed, constructed, and used. $\endgroup$
    – Everyone
    Oct 31, 2013 at 18:24

1 Answer 1


I can see four major factors that determine where a spacesuit can be used:

  1. Temperature issues. The temperature on Titan is much lower than on the Moon or Mars, so you'll need more insulation or heating. conversely, closer to the sun you need to reflect the sunlight more to prevent overheating.
    If you use the suit in a vacuum, you need to get rid of excess heat using radiation, or maybe evaporation if you can compensate for the water loss.
    If you use the suit inside an atmosphere, you get convection cooling/heating added to the mix.
  2. Pressure. Current space suits are made to function in a vacuum. The low atmospheric pressure of Mars probably won't be much of a problem, but Titan is another matter. Current space suits are designed to limit inflation, they have structures inside that keep the suit together. On Titan you could omit these.
  3. Corrosive chemicals in the atmosphere.
  4. Dust control. The moon has a significant dust problem - lunar dust being very fine-grained with a tendency to stick to everything. Martian dust is worse, as there are frequent dust-storms on the planet. Suits would need to be resistant to dust-infiltration, and be easy-to-clean.
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ For the temperature aspect, shaded/sunlit factors would be smaller at more distant sites (plus cloud/haze cover) and the thermal dissipation would differ with atmospheric pressure and other weather aspects (methane rain would presumably cool suits faster than the nitrogen atmosphere). Gravity would influence acceptable suit mass. The walking surface characteristics might influence boot design. On Titan, organic chemicals might be a nuisance vaguely similar to dust. (Just wildly guessing.) $\endgroup$
    – user56
    Oct 30, 2013 at 3:58
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    $\begingroup$ @john3103: I'm not sure the dust issue is worse on Mars. Moon dust is very abrasive because the dust particles don't get blown about and ground down. It's also static so it sticks to everything. Mars dust should be less abrasive (thanks to the dust storms). $\endgroup$
    – Hobbes
    Oct 31, 2013 at 12:57
  • $\begingroup$ I think another factor is the insulation against charges (especially used for moon mission but using that suit in titan is just adds useless weight)and protection against radiation such as X-ray, UV-Rays(incase of EVA there is always a great danger of radiation threat ) $\endgroup$
    – Hash
    Oct 31, 2013 at 14:17
  • $\begingroup$ @Hobbes - true - lunar dust IS worse, I tend to think that Martian dust might cause the same level of problems, given that dust-storms will get it into a suits' seals more. A quantity vs. quality thing? $\endgroup$
    – john3103
    Oct 31, 2013 at 14:32
  • $\begingroup$ @Hobbes A lot of Martian dust is rust/iron-oxide - hence the reddish colour to the planet we see. Imagine walking through a storm of rust; particles of varying size/mass flying at high-speed. $\endgroup$
    – Everyone
    Oct 31, 2013 at 18:20

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