Author(s): Brett A. Gooden
This is the fascinating, extraordinary and often bizarre story of the Spacesuit through science fiction and fact. Man has dreamed of flying into space and walking on other planets for hundreds of years but gradually it became clear that to leave the earth's atmosphere and gravity, our frail bodies would need protection from many dangers. In the period between the World Wars, daring pilots, competing with each other, ventured higher and higher into the thinner atmosphere. They challenged the physiologists and engineers to provide them with special suits to achieve this goal. At the same time, cheap pulp fiction magazines pumped out colourful adventures of humans in space. Their eye-catching cover illustrations became the archetypical feature of these 'pulps' and allowed artists to give vent to their wildest fantasy. Nevertheless, their inventive dreams for spacesuits fed back to the scientific community. Fiction influenced fact. Complemented by astonishing and detailed illustrations, this book unlocks the seemingly impenetrable secrets of how the spacesuit was made into a practical and essential device.
It shows how simple everyday items such as the car tyre, the caterpillar and the concertina provided critical clues that eventually brought the spacesuit to reality. With an absorbing blend of drama and detail, the author explains how the seemingly impossible dream gradually evolved into the complex suits of today and how the quest continues for the 'Mars and Beyond' suits of tomorrow.