The folks at MIT have developed a new space suit to allow greater mobility for astronauts called the BioSuit.They expect to have it ready for use in about ten years, and it wouldbe invaluable for missions to someplace like Mars, where currentspacesuits are just too bulky.

Newman's prototype suit is a revolutionary departure from thetraditional model. Instead of using gas pressurization, which exerts aforce on the astronaut's body to protect it from the vacuum of space,the suit relies on mechanical counter-pressure, which involves wrappingtight layers of material around the body. The trick is to make a suitthat is skintight but stretches with the body, allowing freedom ofmovement.

Key to their design is the pattern of lines on the suit, whichcorrespond to lines of non-extension (lines on the skin that don'textend when you move your leg). Those lines provide a stiff "skeleton"of structural support, while providing maximal mobility.

Source: 31 August 2007