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Sole Morphing Astronaut Boots - A New Pair Of Moon Boots?

Lunar dust was a big problem for the Apollo astronauts; moon dust is abrasive and also sticks to everything (see Lunar Dust Fountains Due To Electrostatic Charges). How about SMABs (Sole Morphing Astronaut Boots)?

The multi-layered Sole Morphing Astronaut Boots (SMAB) incorporate an adaptive design with replaceable studs to allow for maintenance and to reduce the general problem of “gouging” out dust from the lunar surface.

The sole of the shoe will contain thirteen studs located where the foot holds the most weight: the heel and balls of the feet.

Each stud has what’s called a shock-absorption mechanism (SAM), similar to a shock absorber found in an automobile. This mechanism is intended to make the studs both shock absorbent and surface conforming.

By literally putting a spring into your step via SMABs, the result is reducing dust clouds and aiding astronauts with their lunar treks.

Science fiction authors have put plenty of effort into imagining what kind of footgear would be appropriate for astronauts. James P. Hogan wrote about flexible sprung boots in his 1977 novel Inherit the Stars:

“It’s quite ingenious. The mechanical properties of the sole material vary with applied pressure. With the wearer walking at normal speed, the sole would remain mildly flexible. Under impact, however, for example if he jumped, it assumes the characteristics of a stiff spring. It’s an ideal device for kangarooing along in lunar gravity, utilizing conditions of reduced weight but normal inertia to advantage.
(Read more about James P. Hogan's flexible sprung boots)

As far as I know, the first mention of space boots was in The Passing of Ku Sui, a 1932 story by Anthony Gilmore. That technovelgy entry has lots of links to other astronaut footgear.

Also, why not skip lunar vehicles when you could just equip astronauts with jumping boots? (See Russian Power Boots Can Use Biofuels.)

Thanks to Winchell Chung of Atomic Rockets for retweeting that article.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 3/9/2021)

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