When NASA astronauts are suited up for space heroics they're more Marshmallow Man than Spider-Man, but that could change with a sleek new space suit designed by MIT aeronautics professor Dava Newman. The revolutionary BioSuit is lightweight and form-fitting, allowing physical feats not possible in the current bulky gear.
Space suits now use gas pressurization—a mini-version of Earth's atmosphere—to balance the vacuum pull of space. That requires bulk and almost 300 lbs. of equipment. Newman's suits create a pressurized environment with tight layers of patterned nylon and Spandex to form a skeleton-like shell. She hopes they'll be ready in a about 10 years, just about the time NASA plans to be sending people to Mars.