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Remove FREE. Unavailable for purchase. Continue shopping Checkout Continue shopping. The Russian suit was unconventional in a number of ways. For one thing it had three, instead of two, visors: one for high Sun, one for low, and one - shaded dark orange - for dust.
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The air-valve arrangement was different, and it was rigged with inflatable boots that cushioned the impact of rocks and gripped even the slipperiest surface; they called it the "high-mountain model. When you stood with the black side facing the Sun, you broke out in a sweat; with the silver you were braced by a delicious coolness.
Pirx found the idea had one basic flaw in it: a man couldn't always be pointed in the direction of the Sun. So what was he supposed to do? Walk backward? The others chuckled and called his attention to a color alternator located on his chest. If he adjusted the knob, the colors could be reversed: black in front, silver in back, and vice versa.
The mechanics of it were interesting.
Pilot Pirx - Wikiwand
The suit's outer ply was made of a clear, tear-resistant nylon fabric; between it and his body was a thin air barrier filled with two different kinds of dye, or rather semiliquid substances - one aluminized, the other carbonized Space travel is inconvenient, difficult, a product of good and bad engineering, and can often fail because of small problems compounding on each other.
From a favorite story of mine, The Seventh Voyage from The Star Diaries : It was on a Monday, April second - I was cruising in the vicinity of Betelgeuse - when a meteor no larger than a lima bean pierced the hull, shattered the drive regulator and part of the rudder, as a result of which the rocket lost all maneuverability. I put on my spacesuit, went outside and tried to fix the mechanism, but found I couldn't possibly attach the spare rudder - which I'd had the foresight to bring along - without the help of another man.
The constructors had foolishly designed the rocket in such a way, that it took one person to hold the head of the bolt in place with a wrench, and another to tighten the nut. In the end, Lem's stories human failings and not technical ones, and typically that comes down to hubris - failure of the overconfident, the smart and foolish.