The outside of an astronaut's spacesuit is so well known, it teeters on generic at this point — puffy, usually white, dotted with agency patches and a few anodized hookups. Helmets typically look like crystal clear bubbles, sitting atop the pillowy outfits. But few of us know the inner workings of these suits and the Smithsonian Institution is hoping to change that. Through December 1st, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC is offering a detailed look at what makes up an astronaut's gear, inside and out, in its Suited for Space exhibit.

The museum is displaying decades of rarely seen photographs and striking X-ray images of spacesuits to expose underlying technology. And dozens of historic suits in different colors, made of different materials, and from different nations will also be on display, enabling museum goers to see the real thing up close. If you can't make it to DC, there are fantastic photos from the exhibition to be seen at Wired, a Suited for Space Facebook page, and the museum's own website, each offering up a testament to the beautiful mix of art and science that enables humans to travel to and work in space.

apollo era space boot