NASA is working on redesigning their space suits. The idea behind the latest redesign, currently called the Z-1, is to make something more flexible and easier to take on and off. The hope is that these suits will one day be attached to the outside of rovers, so astronauts can simply step into the suit as they’re exiting the rover to walk around Mars (or wherever). Look closely at the “backpack” and you’ll see it’s actually a hatch. The astronaut simply climbs through to put the suit on.
I guess they’re saving the wrist-mounted laser for the Z-2 and the retractable wings for the Z-3.
In any case, I think this is a fantastic idea. Why shouldn’t we let our imaginations dictate what our science stuff looks like? After all, Star Trek had communicators before we ever had cellphones. If we ever get to a point where we can build a city-size space ship in any shape we want, why not make it look like the Enterprise? If we ever need to make a focused, fixed-length laser for cutting through things, why not make them look like lightsabers?
Maybe I’m just a pop-culture dork, but I’m a big supporter of making more fiction into reality. Let’s have trash compactor robots that look like Wall-E…
…and let’s actually lift a house with balloons.
We still probably shouldn’t let rats cook our food. Gotta draw the line somewhere.