Very few things could be cooler than going to outer space. Going to outer space dressed like a superhero? That might just take the cake.
Jose Fernandez is one of Hollywood's most successful costume designers, having created wardrobes for recent movies Batman vs. Superman and Captain America: Civil War. Now Elon Musk has tapped him to design SpaceX's space suits, which the company has long said it intended to create. The suits are almost ready to go and are expected to be unveiled within the next year.
Fernandez had no previous experience in the space industry--in fact, he told Bleep that when SpaceX first reached out, he thought it was a film. The company requested that Fernandez design a helmet to present to Musk. The billionaire entrepreneur chose it over the other four competitors, and he and Fernandez spent six months collaborating on the suit's overall design.
SpaceX's suits will spin forward a product that hasn't changed its look for decades. As Tesla's line reveals, Musk is big on beauty--the cars might help wean the planet off of oil, but they had to be impressive and eye-catching first and foremost. According to Fernandez, Musk wanted the suits to be stylish and "heroic." There aren't any clues as to how the finished products might appear, but given the designer's background, we can expect them to look less like Buzz Lightyear and more like Iron Man.
Fernandez has been a costume designer for 20 years and is the founder of effects firm Ironhead Studio. He got his start in movies by helping to create the infamous evil creatures in Gremlins. His other costume designs include Wolverine and Thor as well as Danny Devito's Penguin suit in Batman Returns.
To be clear, SpaceX didn't hand over the safety of future astronauts to someone with no training in space technology. Fernandez created the aesthetic, and SpaceX is gearing the suits to be fully functional for space travel.
SpaceX has had a big couple of months recently. Earlier in May, it successfully landed a reusable rocket on a floating ship for the second time. And in April, Musk announced that he wanted to land an unmanned Dragon capsule on Mars by 2018.
Musk has been very upfront about his ambitious goal of helping humans colonize Mars. Of course, achieving that milestone still requires solving a number of thorny logistical space travel challenges. But at least we know that if and when humans get there, they're going to be suited up in style.