A space suit is a type of clothing intended to keep an astronaut safe and alive in the harsh environment of outer space where vacuum and temperature extremes would wreak havoc on the human body. The outermost layer of a spacesuit is called the Thermal Micrometeoroid Garment and provides thermal insulation and protection from micrometeoroids and harmful solar radiation.
Pressure suits are a different type of garment worn or other specialized tasks in high altitudes. Skintight suits are a type of pressure suit also known as a mechanical counterpressure suit which use a heavy elastic bodystocking to compress the body. This is a very lightweight suit which reduces the possibility of depressurization and it uses the body’s natural sweat to keep cool inside the suit.
Other interesting types of suits include the Mercury suit, Gemini G4C suit, Manned Orbiral Laboratory Suit, Apollo Vloxj A1C suit, EVA and Moon suit, Shuttle Flight Suit, and the Extravehicular mobility unit. The Bio-Suit is a space suit that is currently under development at an institute in Massachisetts and would be custom fitted for each wearer using laser body scanning. NASA gave a $100,000 grant to collaboratinf colleges in North Dakota to demonstrate technologies that could be incorporated into a planetart suit. They are working on a new prototype that weaighs about 47 pounds without the life support backpack and the suit is to be names the North Dakota Suit. A suitport is a theoretical alternative to an airlock, designed for use in hazardous environments and in human spaceflight, especially planetary surface exploration. In a suitport system, a rear-entry space suit is attached and sealed against the outside of a spacecraft, such that an astronaut can enter and seal up the suit, then go on EVA, without the need for an airlock or depressurizing the spacecraft cabin. Suitports require less mass and volume than airlocks, provide dust mitigation, and prevent cross-contamination of the inside and outside environments. Patents are currently pending.
Finally we get to our favorite Star Trek space suits. Hollywood’s space fiction ignored the problems of traveling through a vacuum, and launched its heroes through space without any special protection. In the later 19th century, however, a more realistic brand of space fiction emerged, in which authors have tried to describe or depict the space suits worn by their characters. These fictional suits vary in appearance and technology, and range from the highly authentic to the utterly improbable.
A very early fictional account of space suits can be seen in the book Edison's Conquest of Mars (1898). Later comic book series such as Buck Rogers (1930s) and Dan Dare (1950s) also featured their own takes on space suit design. Science fiction authors such as Robert A. Heinlein contributed to the development of fictional space suit concepts.