Wednesday, February 03, 2010
Walking on the moon
Moon walking required the highest of high-tech shoes and cost a pretty penny to produce but according to National Geographic , Neil Armstrong's boots (size 9 1⁄2 medium) are still on the moon, along with nine other pairs of boots worn during the Apollo missions. When the Apollo astronauts collected moon rocks, they jettison their boots to compensate for the additional weight they brought back. Three decades on moon’s surface the metal buckles and boot snaps would remain corrosion free because of the lack of oxygen on the moon. The silicone soles and synthetic fabrics would however have degraded and off-gassed. Any attempt to retrieve them now might result in what remains turning to powder. The latest in space footwear is the M2 Trekkera and cost a cool $30,000 US a pair to develop. They are constructed in three parts i.e. an inner pressure bladder, a middle structural layer, and a protective cover. The shoe needs to tolerate temperatures from minus 350˚F (minus 212˚C) to plus 350˚F (177˚C), resist micrometeoroids (dust travelling at 45,000 miles an hour), protect the astronauts’ feet from the rocky surface of the moon, and be comfortable enough to allow the wearer to hike across the rough lunar landscape. The new moon boots have been design at ILC Dover (a manufacturer of space suits for NASA in Frederica, Delaware).The new boots are slimmer and lighter (in weight) than the last generation shoe worn by Apollo astronauts.