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Welcome to the Paleofuture blog, where we explore past visions of the future. From flying cars and jetpacks to utopias and dystopias.

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

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:

Breathing: No air on the moon, so the suit must pack oxygen for at least 10 days.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.Radiation: A phenomenon called "solar flair" intermittently showers the moon with very intense radiation. Suit must completely shield wearer.Vacuum effect: Suit must prevent fatal loss of moisture due to moon's near-vacuum atmosphere.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.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

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