NASA’s Extravehicular Activity and Human Surface Mobility Program provides safe, reliable, and effective spacewalking and surface mobility capabilities that allow astronauts to survive and work outside the confines of a base spacecraft in order to explore on and around the Moon. Located within the Advanced Exploration Systems Division at NASA Headquarters and supporting both the Space Operations Mission Directorate and the Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate, the Extravehicular Activity and Human Surface Mobility Program is comprised of several key elements, including spacewalking capabilities in both low Earth orbit and on the Moon, the Lunar Terrain Vehicle, technology development and partnerships, and pressurized crewed rover systems.
Providing spacesuit capabilities and surface mobility systems for humanity’s return to the Moon.
NASA’s Extravehicular Activity and Human Surface Mobility Program represents a key cornerstone of NASA’s Artemis program to return humans to the Moon and explore deep space, as well as continuing a critical role supporting the International Space Station and the commercialization of low Earth orbit. It serves as the agency’s program to develop next-generation spacesuits, human-rated rovers (pressurized and unpressurized), and tools, along with all the necessary spacewalking support systems for use in microgravity, on the lunar surface and, eventually, on other planets. The Extravehicular Activity and Human Surface Mobility Program leverages commercial and international partnerships to obtain services related to extravehicular and surface mobility activities. Using commercial partnerships enables NASA to benefit from industry innovations and efficiencies and allows the vendors to offer these services to the private sector, outside of NASA programs. In this way, the program is facilitating the advancement of U.S. industry that actively benefits the economy and American taxpayer.
An artist’s concept of NASA astronauts working on the lunar South Pole.
Spacewalking is the pinnacle of human exploration.
Spacewalking symbolizes the human element of exploration in space more than any other activity. Any time an astronaut ventures outside the International Space Station, or leaves the confine of a spacecraft, it is called a spacewalk or EVA (extravehicular activity). The first person to go on a spacewalk was Russian cosmonaut Alexei Leonov on March 18, 1965, followed by NASA astronaut Ed White on June 3, 1965, during the Gemini 4 mission. Astronauts conduct spacewalks to perform maintenance on the space station, install new equipment, or deploy science experiments. With the assembly of the space station taking place over two decades ago, spacewalks play an instrumental role in maintaining working operations on the orbiting laboratory.
NASA astronaut and Expedition 68 Flight Engineer Nicole Mann is pictured in her Extravehicular Mobility Unit, or spacesuit, during her second spacewalk on Feb. 2, 2023.
Protecting astronauts from the harshness of space.
Spacewalking is the pinnacle of human exploration and symbolizes the human element of exploration in space more than any other activity. A fully equipped spacesuit is actually a miniature spacecraft that provides astronauts from the extreme environment of space. The spacesuit worn for spacewalks outside the International Space Station is called the Extravehicular Mobility Unit, or EMU. NASA calls a spacewalk an Extravehicular Activity, or EVA, so this type of suit is often called an EVA suit.
NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli suited up in the space station airlock vacuum chamber on January 31, 2023 as part of her mission training.
Lunar Terrain Vehicle
Allowing astronauts to explore farther on the Moon than ever before.
As astronauts explore the South Pole region of the Moon during Artemis missions, they will be able to go farther and conduct more science than ever before thanks to a next-generation Lunar Terrain Vehicle (LTV). The LTV is an unpressurized rover that Artemis astronauts will use to traverse the lunar surface and transport crew and equipment across wide areas as they conduct science experiments and collect lunar samples.
An artist’s rendering of a Lunar Terrain Vehicle on the surface of the Moon.
Expanding our ability to explore while living and working on the lunar surface.
The pressurized rover will greatly expand our ability to explore, live and work on the lunar surface. Having a pressurized volume to live in, astronauts can live and work in the vehicle to conduct exploration and scientific activities without the hinderance of a spacesuit. Outfitted with robotics, cameras, sensors, and scientific instruments, the pressurized rover will be a mobile laboratory for exploration activities across large areas of the lunar surface.
Exploring the South Pole will teach us more about the Moon’s history, as well as the history of our solar system. It's home to frozen water, which is crucial for living sustainably on the lunar surface and exploring deeper into the solar system.
NASA Prepares to Explore Moon: Spacesuits, Tools
Preparing to explore the surface of the Moon goes well beyond designing and building safe spacecraft and spacesuits. NASA also has to ensure the surface vehicles and suits have the mobility required to do science, and that astronauts have the tools they need to identify and scoop up rock and soil samples.
Suit Up – 50 Years of Spacewalking
This NASA documentary celebrates 50 years of spacewalks, which began with the first two conducted by Russian Alexey Leonov in March 1965 and American astronaut Edward White in June 1965.
Reference Documents and Past Event Resources
In an effort to provide relevant and timely information to the Extravehicular Activity (EVA) and spacesuit community, we have created this repository to share pertinent reference materials supporting NASA’s exploration efforts pertaining to EVA.
EHP Technical Library
NASA will make available all technical data related the design and development of technology to which the government has the rights or license to disclose. NASA is sharing its technical documentation in this technical library to facilitate industry access to design and requirements data.
Explore a collection of “Houston, We Have a Podcast” episodes that dive deep into the science, engineering, architecture and the humans behind the Artemis Generation.
Artemis is the first step in the next era of human exploration. Together, with commercial and international partners, NASA will establish a sustainable presence on the Moon to prepare for missions to Mars.
Direct from America's space program to YouTube, watch NASA TV live streaming here to get the latest from our exploration of the universe and learn how we discover our home planet.