These are two mobile habitat pods that they are attempting to dock together, from Houston. It's pretty cool to see these things rolling around. They look like giant bugs!
Here are closer pictures of the Chariot. There are two turrets on it, for it to be manned by two people. However, it can be remotely driven by Houston, and they tried that out, too. The docking stations where the guys stand are called turrets, because like on a tank with a shooting turret, they can rotate 360 degrees. There are six wheels on it, that are on independent suspension from each other, so they can go over any terrain.
This is a picture of the "soft" space suit. Anywho, it's called a "soft" suit because it has a soft shell, that only gets hard when it's inflated with air. It makes it more mobile and flexible for the astronauts to move around in it.
These are pictures of the "hard" space suits. The entire shell is hard, from about the bicep area, down to the mid-thigh area. It's a rear-entry suit, so the astronauts have to step into it through the back, feet first. There wasn't much room in the little trailer we were in, to get a decent picture, but it's pretty cool to see this suit in person. Now I won't have to go to Cape Canaveral, since I've seen one here in podunk Moses Lake....or something.
NASA is trying to weigh the pros and cons of each suit, and try to combine the best attributes of each one of them, for their mission to the moon. The "soft" suit weighs about 160 pounds (I think, or somewhere there abouts), and the "hard" suit weighs in around 220. I vote for the lighter one!
I guess NASA is doing this testing to see if they can get a lunar outpost built by 2020. There are about 10 places that NASA considers high priority for exploration on the moon, for scientific and commercial exploration. Apparently, platinum is abundant on the moon, so they are considering it for mining. Who knew? There is also Helium 3 up there, but I'm not sure what the big deal about that is.
It's just fun to be here while something so neat, and potentially important, is happening. And the boys REALLY enjoyed it!