technology suit
To infinity: the next-generation of Z-2 spacesuitNasa

Nasa has revealed the result of the public vote on the next-generation spacesuit design.

The US space agency has unveiled the new 'Technology' suit for the prototype Z-2 spacesuit, which features an external "cover layer" chosen by the public.

The "Tron-like" design won over fans of the science fiction saga, with its light-emitting panels and Luminex wire.

The suit, which was created by ILC Dover with the help of students from Philadelphia University, will be tested at Nasa's Johnson Space Center in November. It won with 147,354 votes and was selected over two alternative designs, Biomimicry and Trends in Society, which received 53,057 and 33,020 votes respectively.

Nasa spacesuit designs
The three proposed designs for NASA's Z-2 spacesuitsNASA Advanced Concepts Lab

The newly-selected futuristic layer, which sports electroluminescent wiring, will also feature key functional developments.

The prototype Z-2, which will eventually be the new generation fo spacesuit from the Z-1 type currently used, has a hard upper torso for better durability. It will also use materials designed specifically for the vacuum of space.

"The cover layer of a non-flight suit still performs an important function in ground-based testing. The cover protects the lower layers and technical details from abrasion and snags during testing," Nasa officials said, as reported in Space.com.

"The cover layer on flight suits used for spacewalks performs many other important functions like protecting the spacewalker from micrometeorite strikes, the extreme temperatures in space and the harmful effects of radiation," the agency added in a statement. "These requirements drive selection of specific high-performance materials and design details that aren't necessary at this stage in a prototype suit."

The glowing panels also offer a new way to identify crew members, putting a new spin on spacewalking standards.

The Z-2 design has been developed with future long-duration manned missions to Mars in mind. This year, the space agency announced a three-stage plan to sent humans to the Red Planet.

As the design is still in its prototype phase, however, it is still being developed to advance and develop technologies for Mars-bound astronauts.

Dan Huot, a Nasa spokesman, told NBC News that although the winning design was not intended to resemble the Tron film, he welcomed the comparison. "We're always going to find those parallels between science fiction and reality," he said. "I'm all for it."

Jinny Ferl, a designer for ILC Dover, an American engineering development and manufacturing company which creates space suits, told Thespacereporter.com that the final design could well feature a "light up" design like the Technology design.