It seems the future is indeed happening now, as the list of sci-fi inspired gadgets finding their way to real life is growing longer. Scientists are working on a futuristic space diving suit inspired by famous science fiction franchises Star Trek and Iron Man.
After Felix Baumgartner’s impressive and record-shattering space jump from 127,852 feet above the Earth, I’m sure many people out there have been wondering if they would do it too. And the space diving suit will allow all wannabe daredevils who were in awe of Baumgartner’s feat to do it themselves.
Known as the RL Mark VI, a name that doesn’t get more science-fiction than that, the space diving suit is being developed by Baltimore MD based Juxtopia and Solar System Express. RL is an acronym for Robert Lawrence, a United States Air Force major who was also the first African-American astronaut. Lawrence died in a test flight in 1967.
The RL Mark VI will be designed to withstand extreme pressure changes and temperatures. Emulating models seen in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek films to the last detail, the space diving suit will be equipped with an augmented reality HUD (heads-up display) that will show the divers their vital signs and various technical details about the outside conditions.
The suit will also be provided with rocket boosters and directional thrusters to help stabilize the descent and direction. The invention will be first tested by a robot. The companies still have to work out a lot of technical details, but expect the suit to be ready and in mass production by 2016.
If successful, the enterprise will make space diving one of the most popular extreme sports, at least for those with deep pockets. While the suit itself is not expected to be very expensive, the trip to the jumping point in space will be. The space diving suit will reportedly allow space jumps from different altitudes: near space, suborbital space and low-Earth orbit. An artist’s rendition of how the suit would work can be seen in the video below.
What do you think of the RL Mark VI? Would you be willing to do a Captain Kirk impersonation and try performing a space jump?
[Image via DVICE]