WTF?! When astronauts return to the moon in 2025, they will do so in style. Italian luxury fashion giant Prada has announced that it will be working alongside Axiom Space to design the spacesuits worn during NASA's Artemis 3 mission in 2025.
The mission will not only have the distinction of being our first trip back to the moon since Apollo 17 in December 1972, but also the first to place a woman on the lunar surface.
Axiom Space said it chose Prada as a partner for the Axiom Extravehicular Mobility Unit (AxEMU) spacesuit due to the company's technical expertise with raw materials, manufacturing techniques, and innovative design concepts. The fashion house will also introduce "innovative design concepts" to the project.
Prada engineers will work with Axiom's teams throughout the design process, helping develop solutions for materials and design features to protect against the challenges of space and the lunar environment.
Having Prada help with the design process might conjure images of spacesuits coated in lavish colors or adorned with high collars, but that's obviously not the case. Former astronaut Professor Jeffrey Hoffman told the BBC that "Prada has considerable experience with various types of composite fabrics and may actually be able to make some real technical contributions to the outer layers of the new space suit."
Prada's experience beyond fashion design includes its work with the Luna Rossa Prada Americas Cup sailing team. Prada Group Marketing Director Lorenzo Bertelli said this has helped hone its expertise with cutting-edge technologies.
In March, Axiom, which has a $228 million contract with NASA to develop the suits, revealed what it said was an updated version that it hoped would be ready for the Artemis 3 mission. It marked the first full redesign of the existing suit since 1981. The new suit weighed 55kgs (121 pounds) and was said to be a better fit for female astronauts. They also provide increased flexibility and specialized tools for exploration and scientific opportunities.
Before the Artemis 3 mission arrives, there is Artemis 2, which will send astronauts into the moon's orbit next year.
We heard earlier this week that NASA has big plans for its future travels to the moon. The agency is aiming for 3D-printed houses, occupied by both astronauts and civilians, to be in place on the lunar surface by 2040.