During a manned mission to Mars, human comfort will play a big role in the mission’s success. The current bulky space suit in use weighs in at 300 pounds and is impractical for use in low gravity environments.
Researchers at MIT are working on a spandex and nylon BioSuit to be used in such a situation. The torso would be pressurized to about 30 kPa while the limbs would be sheathed in thinner material allowing for increased dexterity and decreased weight from the current model.
Space suit variants
This suit provides protection from vacuum, temperature and radiation. It includes telecommunications systems and life support. For use in airless portions of the base, some external radiation shielding could be removed, and the communications and life support systems fed through a hose.
This suit is used in parts of the base which may decompress or when there is danger of decompression. It offers protection from vacuum and a few minuates air supply. A variant of this suit could be used as a flight suit.
Pressurized vs. Skintight
All spacesuits used to date have been pressurized, i.e. filled with air. It can be difficult to move in these suits, and as such they are only pressurized to a third of normal pressure to allow easy movement. At this low pressure, someone could suffer nitrogen narcosis. This requires the person who will be executing the EVA to breath pure oxygen for a few hours to purge their body of nitrogen, or to "camp out" overnight in a low pressure atmosphere. This is time consuming and not practical if an emergency EVA were to be carried out. An alternative could be a skintight suit, like the biosuit, however, these suits are difficult to enter and exit. A hybrid could be considered.
The Russian Orlan spacesuit is entered through the rear, with the backpack acting as a door, whereas the American EMU has various seals at the waist, the helmet, the gloves, the boots, etc. The russian system can be entered in only five minutes, and with one seal is considerably safer as well.