Space travel and its accompanying technological advances developed rapidly in the 20th and 21st centuries, impacting the scientific development of mankind, as well as political structure on a global scale. Since the 20th century, space exploration and technological development have been a scientific luxury usually reserved for the world's political superpowers, and as such, the development of space suits has been entrusted to those powerful few.
The visual evolution of space suits demonstrates the development of the Space Race in the context of the Cold War; both the United States and the USSR were fighting to establish technogical dominance over one another. Both nations developed their own suits for their specific needs, and the distinctions between these suits indicates the economic capabilities of each nation - or the lack thereof.
Tracking the economic and political development of a nation through their space suits is interesting in its own right. However, space suits can also display history on a much grander scale: they demonstrate humanity's ability to explore the unknown through science and progressively adapt to their environment. Using combined resources from government institutions, the best aerospace engineering schools, and private companies, humankind has been able to explore a realm that, for the majority of history, has been understood only as a grand, mysterious void.
Space exploration provides us with new information about our place in the universe, as well as astronaut stories of oddities we would never expect to see if it weren't for the space suit.