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Sunday
Jun282009

A Suit For The First Man on the Moon (1961)

The August 6, 1961 Post-Standard Sunday magazine (Syracuse, NY) ran a short piece about an Experimental Engineering class at UCLA that was experimenting/playing with a "moon man's suit." Designed by Allyn B. Hazard, the suit also appeared on the cover of Life magazine's April 27, 1962 issue. The entire two-page spread from the Post-Standard can be viewed below.

"You're going to land on the moon. You need a suit that will protect you against all the dangers you'll run into. You can start by figuring out what they are."

That's the assignment Professor John Lyman handed his class in Experimental Engineering at U.C.LA. Along with it he gave them a rough model of a moon man's suit designed by California engineer Allyn B. Hazard. The class studied it, wore it, and tried to make it into a practical safeguard for our first moon man. They pin-pointed six major problems the suit must solve:

  1. Breathing: No air on the moon, so the suit must pack oxygen for at least 10 days.
  2. Hot-cold: The moon switches from a boiling 215 degrees F. in the daytime to 250 below at night. Suit must be power-heated and cooled, heavily insulated.
  3. Radiation: A phenomenon called "solar flair" intermittently showers the moon with very intense radiation. Suit must completely shield wearer.
  4. Vacuum effect: Suit must prevent fatal loss of moisture due to moon's near-vacuum atmosphere.
  5. Mobility: Moon's surface is thought to be covered with dust that may be 20 feet thick in places. Also, the atmospheric pressure inside the suit and absence of pressure outside will cause moon man's arms to fly up like Jimmy Durante's and stick there.
  6. Chow: Moon man must carry rations inside suit.

You can see why the suit doesn't exactly have Ivy League cut. Our scientists have dubbed President Kennedy's proposed $40 billion man-to-the-moon project "Apollo." Apollo should sue!

--Joseph Gies

Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

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Reader Comments (8)

This is the suit which inspired Major Matt Mason's Moon Suit, which -- according to its packaging -- "must be worn when moon walking... protects astronaut from solar radiation & meteorites, extreme heat & cold... [and which featured] remote control arms."

June 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCraven Lovelace

Wow! I've been looking for information about this moon suit for years. It was shown quite a bit in Time/Life magazines but I've never been able to find any more information about it. Evidently it wasn't tested by NASA but a bunch of college students! Any way to find out more information or what happened to it?

June 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTom

It's funny that they went to all the trouble to point out the problems, forgetting that they would have had to use a ship of some kind to get to the moon in the first place where everything could be stored.

June 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNoah

Did they really think the macho astronauts of the era would be caught dead wearing such an outfit even way out on the Moon (no offense Major Matt Mason!)?

And why is a woman being grabbed by a guy in that suit? I know this is 1962 and the suit was made by college guys, but geesh!

Yeah, I miss those days too.

June 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGeorge Jetson

Hello,

I have just discovered this amazing documentary called Moonwalk One-The Director’s Cut that was initially filmed in 1969. It is an amazing account of the Apollo 11 space mission in which man first walked on the moon! Not only does it capture the scientific accomplishments, but it also serves as an outstanding time capsule of society at the time and their reactions!

The film also features very interesting footage of the making of their space suits as well as the technical side of the mission and society at the time!

Forty years later, it turns out that the original director, Theo Kamecke, has the only pristine copy of the original 35mm film. Never before released to the public for home viewing, the film has been restored to a spectacular high-definition wide screen masterpiece with an all new soundtrack!

Make sure to get your copy in time for the 40th anniversary of man walking on the moon! I got my copy at www.amazon.com, and you can also orider it at ww.co.uk and www.moonwalk.com. This is a great film for students, teachers, enthusiasts, families, and more. No matter your interest, this film will not be a bore!

Best wishes,
Lauren

July 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLauren

This is the suit which inspired Major Matt Mason's Moon Suit, which -- according to its packaging -- "must be worn when moon walking... protects astronaut from solar radiation & meteorites, extreme heat & cold... [and which featured] remote control arms."Murree Hotels

September 10, 2009 | Unregistered Commenteradil

Thought you might like to see a "Life" cover photo featuring this suit, I scanned here:
http://fantasticflashbacks.blogspot.com/2009/07/1962-astronaut-in-can.html

I plan on scanning in the article sometime, but it's too big for the sanner and takes extra ttime scan it in parts and reassemble in photoshop.
-Fred

August 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFrederick

One of the biggest problems with space fashion here in the real future is a total lack of solar flair.

February 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDave

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