The Atlantic

Space Suits for Spiders

And what they tell us about the difficulty of keeping people alive in space
Source: Win McNamee / Getty

Recently, a user of an online forum for science-fiction writing posed an intriguing question to the rest of the community. In the user’s imaginary world, spiders rule the planet. The arachnids have grown intelligent enough to build a spacefaring empire, and they need space suits to travel into space. So, then: “How to design a space suit for an arachnid?”

The inquiry made me giggle. It reminded me of those silly thought experiments involving animals and garments, such as the long-running debate over how a dog would wear pants. I scrolled down, anticipating some funny responses.

But there was none of that. The people on this forum were serious, and they were serious

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic9 min readSociety
The Common Misconception About ‘High Crimes and Misdemeanors’
The constitutional standard for impeachment is different from what’s at play in a regular criminal trial.
The Atlantic5 min read
The Brave New World of HBO’s Watchmen
Damon Lindelof’s new show advances the clock on Alan Moore’s original series but retains the comic’s skepticism of heroes in masks.
The Atlantic6 min read
Vaping Faces a Crackdown. Cigarettes Are Still Legal.
Politicians who ban flavors should brace for a surge in smoking and the use of questionable bootlegged vaping products.