In preparation for NASA’s upcoming Moon and Mars missions for its Artemis spaceflight program, the agency added special features to its new spacesuits. According to an official from the agency, the features will ensure the safety of the astronauts and continuity of the missions despite possible issues with the suits.

Earlier in October, NASA unveiled details of the new spacesuits dubbed as the Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit (xEMU). Based on the design, the xEMU suits resemble the spacesuits currently being used by astronauts aboard the International Space Station. But, despite the similar appearance, NASA noted that the xEMU models have been equipped with special features to ensure that astronauts can safely and efficiently explore Mars and the Moon.

Recently, Chris Hansen, the head of NASA’s Extravehicular Activity Office explained one of the important features of the xEMU suits. According to Hansen, NASA decided to install redundant systems in the spacesuits to ensure that the astronauts will still be able to complete their missions even if they encounter issues with their equipment.

“We've put in as many redundant systems as we can,” Hansen said during the latest episode of NASA’s “Houston We Have A Podcast.”

“Whereas the current [extravehicular mobility unit] has a single pump, a single fan, all driven off of a single motor, if that system goes down, the [extravehicular activities will be] finished,” he continued. “We have to bring the crew back inside.”

Although it would seem that doubling up on the features might make the spacesuits cumbersome, Hansen assured that the material and overall design of the new xEMU models will allow astronauts to move freely while in space.

For Hansen, putting in additional systems into the suits will ensure their reliability. More importantly, these redundant systems will protect astronauts during their mission.

“This system, we have redundant pumps,” he explained. “We have redundant fans. We have a redundant thermal control system. So we're trying to put in as much reliability as we can. Again, to allow the mission to keep going but also to obviously to protect the safety of the crew when they're out there.”

NASA’s latest xEMU suits will most likely debut in 2024 during the agency’s crewed mission to explore the Moon’s south pole as part of its Artemis program.