HOUSTON -- The bulky moonsuits Neil A. Armstrong and Edwin E. Aldrin Jr. will wear on the lunar surface are as protective as a spaceship but weigh a few tons less.
The garments even have their own water-cooled system to maintain body temperatures.
They are highly restrictive, however. Armstrong and Aldrin won't be able to romp in the lunar dust.
While walking on the moon, the astronauts can't shed any part of the life-sustaining suit insulated overcoat, heavy shoes, stiff gloves or twin-visored helmets. And, within a few hours they will become fatigued.
The suits were designed to meet a specific set of requirements, including:
1. An artificial interior atmosphere of 100 percent oxygen at 3.7 pounds per square inch.
2. Adequate mobility on the barren, rocky moon.
3. And, up to four hours operating time on the lunar surface.
The moonsuit is composed of 16 different layers of material. Inside Apollo 11, the astronauts are cloaked in six of the layers but for survival on the plus or minus 250-degree moon surface they will add an insulated overcoat to protect them from meteoroids.
"It's roughly equivalent to a deep sea diver's suit," explained scientist-astronaut Don L. Lind. "You're very restricted in movement by the whole body ... in dexterity of the hands."
The moonsuit tips the scales at 69 pounds, earth-weight, with all parts of the garment designed to protect the astronauts from meteoroid particles traveling at speeds up to 64,000 miles an hour. The two moveable visors provide protection from micrometeoroids, solar ultraviolet, infrared and visible light radiation