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NASA unveils flexible, one-size-fits-all space suits

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Bye bye to bunny hops: when US astronauts next touch down on the Moon, expect them to walk almost as they do on Earth, thanks to a new generation of spacesuits offering key advantages over those of the Apollo-era.

Prototypes of the Orion Crew Survival Suit that will be worn on the journey and the Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit (xEMU) for the lunar surface were unveiled at NASA’s Washington headquarters Tuesday ahead of the agency’s planned return to the Moon by 2024.

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Standing in front of a giant US flag, spacesuit engineer Kristine Davis wore a pressurized red, blue and white xEMU suit, showing off a vastly improved range of motion thanks to bearings systems on the waist, arms, and legs.

They are also extendable and therefore one-size-fits-all, meaning there won’t be a repeat of an embarrassing flub in March that caused the first all-female spacewalk to be aborted when a second medium-sized suit wasn’t available.

AFP / Laurence CHU NASA’s new spacesuits

“If we remember the Apollo generation, we remember Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, they bunny hopped on the surface of the Moon,” NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine told a hall filled with students and interns at the space agency.

“Now we’re going to be able to walk on the surface of the Moon, which is very different from the suits of the past.”

Another key innovation is the xEMU’s unlimited capacity to absorb carbon dioxide, a byproduct of respiration that is also poisonous in high quantities.

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It achieves this through a system that both absorbs and then removes the gas into the vacuum of space, unlike current systems that merely absorb it until its reaches a saturation point.

AFP / Andrew CABALLERO-REYNOLDS Advance space suit engineer, Kristine Davis (R), waves next to space suit engineer Amy Ross (L) during a press conference displaying NASA’s next generation of space suits

The crew survival suit, meanwhile, is designed to provide full life support for up to six days — a scenario that could be required, for example, if a meteorite punches a hole in the spacecraft’s hull.

Under the Artemis mission, NASA plans to land on the Moon’s South Pole in order to exploit its water ice, discovered in 2009, both for life support purposes and to split into hydrogen and oxygen for use as rocket propellant.

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The agency views its return to the Moon as a proving ground for an onward mission to Mars in the 2030s.


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‘Russia is delighted’: Maddow says the elephant in the room is ‘rearing up and stomping its feet’

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The host of "The Rachel Maddow Show" on MSNBC broke down how all of President Donald Trump's decisions in the Ukraine scandal primarily benefited Russia.

"We are in the middle of this impeachment now and it is still unfolding and there is still more to learn and tomorrow is going to be — tomorrow should be a big deal," Maddow noted. "Even just the news tonight is a big deal."

"But even after one day of public hearings so far, the elephant in the room here feels like it’s rearing up and stomping its feet, because who benefits with all these things Trump has done?" Maddow asked. "With all of them. With all this stuff in the middle of the impeachment, but all the other stuff he’s doing simultaneously."

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Trump begs Louisiana for a ‘big win’ after his last-minute rally in Kentucky backfired

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At his last-ditch rally in Louisiana to help the struggling gubernatorial candidacy of GOP businessman Eddie Rispone, President Donald Trump boasted — incorrectly — that his rally in Kentucky narrowed the gap for Gov. Matt Bevin, who lost the race, by 19 points. He then begged voters to give Rispone a "big win."

"We elected everybody," said Trump. "The governor got brought up, in a few short days, 19 points. I went, we made a speech, the whole ticket was there, everybody won big. Governor's a really good guy. But 19 points is a big thing, and he lost by just a few thousand votes. And the headlines next day, Trump took a loss — I lifted him up a lot. But Trump took a loss. So you gotta give me a big win, please, okay? Okay?"

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Republicans are treating voters like ‘children’ with their defense of Trump: Ex-presidential adviser

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On Thursday's edition of CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360," former presidential adviser David Gergen laid into Republican lawmakers for claiming that the impeachment probe is only based on "hearsay."

"The Republicans are treating us like idiots," said Gergen. "They just — they say you're only bringing forth hearsay. You don't have any firsthand information. We know there are three people who know exactly what happened. One is named [Rudy] Giuliani. One is chief of staff [Mick] Mulvaney and the third is [John] Bolton. And what's happened here? They all three have been called. The president said no, you must not talk. So the Republicans then come up and say, well, you only have hearsay."

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