From a modified flight suit to a Mars-ready prototype, the space suit has been the enduring hero in every mission to the outer reaches.
Photo: Gordon Cooper's suit for Project Mercury, NASA's first manned spaceflight program, was a modified version of a U.S. Navy high-altitude jet aircraft pressure suit.
Space suits have gone through an interesting evolution since they were first designed.
Future moonwalker Neil Armstrong wore this suit, which was built to be flexible even when pressurized.
1965 - Project Gemini
Two Project Gemini astronauts demonstrate the portable air conditioners that worked with their suits.
1966 - Russian Yastreb space suit
This Russian Yastreb space suit was used only once before being put up for auction in New York. Its mechanics were so rigid that it took two people to put it on, and it needed a system of pulleys to regulate movement.
Credit: JON LEVY/AFP/Getty Images
1968 - Project Apollo
Project Apollo space suits needed to provide additional protections for moon excursions.
1969 - Apollo 11
Buzz Aldrin wore this iconic space suit during the Apollo 11 mission.
1971 - Apollo 14
Alan Shepard of Apollo 14 wore his suit to explore the moon's surface.
1981 - STS-1
This ejection escape suit, a modified version of the suits worn by Air Force high fliers, was used by astronauts during NASA's first space shuttle flight, STS-1.
1982 - Soyuz T-6
Suited-up French cosmonaut Jean-Loup Chrétien lands the Soyuz T-6 space capsule near the Kazakh town of Arkalyk.
Credit: OFF/AFP/Getty Images
1984 - jetpack-like suit
A jetpack-like device on this suit allowed Bruce McCandless to float freely in space for the first time.
Circa 1994 - "pumpkin suit"
The space shuttle "pumpkin suit" includes a launch and entry helmet with communication gear, a parachute pack, a life preserver and other survival gear.
1999 - French-Russian mission
French cosmonaut Jean-Pierre Haignere is seen here preparing for an international space flight in Russia.
Credit: Getty Images
2002 - MK II advanced suit
This MK II advanced suit was tested during a desert trip by Dr. Dean Eppler.
2003 - Chinese space suit
Astronaut Yang Liwei was China's first man in space; he wore this suit.
Credit: STR/AFP/Getty Images
2005 - Shenzhou VI
The Chinese developed this $375,000 suit for China's second manned space flight, Shenzhou VI.
Credit: China Photos/Getty Images
The future - design challenge
NASA is currently developing new suits aimed at taking mankind to Mars.
This concept recently won NASA's Z-2 Spacesuit Design Challenge. The concept is expected to be incorporated into the suits that will go to the Red Planet.