Skinsuit will remind you of many of the futuristic movies you have seen but understanding a reason for it will make all the movies make sense. (Well, maybe not all! After all, Prometheus may never make complete sense.)
The ESA is introducing a skin-tight suit (hence the name) that has medicinal benefits. The Space Medicine Office of ESA’s European Astronaut Centre feels that a suit that is tight fitting in all the right places could just be an answer to some unwanted side-effects. Take the fact that most astronauts grow by up to 7 cm while in space only to lose it upon return to Earth & gravity and have the ensuing back problems. Actually, the back problems start while they are still in space.
The new suit is skintight, tailor made with a bi-directional weave especially designed to counteract the lack of gravity by squeezing the body starting at the shoulders and running down to the feet. This squeezing is to counteract the lack of gravity and instead replace it with a force similar to that felt on Earth. Current prototypes are spandex however I would envision the ultimate as taking advantage of meta-material.
ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen is slated to be the first to wear the suit in space during his 2015 mission where it will face a real test of comfort, functionality; a risk/rewards type scenario.
Often mentioned is that space initiates invention which ends up useful for Earth. The Skinsuit has potential use for Earth; for helping the elderly and people with back problems. Its use could also expand to various conditions such as cerebral palsy.
So when you think of the simple suits seen in many space exploration movies or written of in novels know that it was both a heath measure. Also would probably be useful in cryogenics (if anything is necessary) and for basic space travel as something tight fitting would make it easy to slip into spacesuits…
Of course I envision this very cool idea going on to involve meta-materials that can help to monitor and have characteristics built into them that aid simple things such as digestion and other bodily functions that gravity seems to interfere with. This is a very good start…why are we waiting for 2015?