In ch. 4 of Heinlein's Have Space Suit, Will Travel, two flying saucers land in the field behind the protagonist Kip's house. Two figures come out of one. We later learn that these are the Mother Thing, followed by Peewee. The scene is depicted on the cover of the Del Rey paperback, which can be found by web searching.

In this scene, why is Peewee wearing a space suit?

In the remainder of the chapter, Peewee brings Kip up to speed on the situation he's gotten himself into, but there are interruptions, and Kip spends a lot of time expressing disbelief. During this time, Peewee describes landing the flying saucer with coaching from the Mother Thing. But there never seems to be any explanation of why she'd be wearing a space suit.

  • Do we know for sure whether the saucers are pressurized? – Harry Johnston Oct 15 '19 at 17:48
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    @HarryJohnston: Yes. The wormface ships are definitely pressurized. Peewee and Kip spend some time in a wormface ship on the moon. They have to search the ship to find their space suits to escape and run for Tombaugh station. – JRE Oct 15 '19 at 19:05

After they get recaptured and are returned to the Moon, we learn that the saucer is not connected to the Wormfaces' base by an airlock. To steal the saucer they would have had to put on suits and go outside. Apparently they hadn't had time to take off the suits yet, especially since they were pursued.

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    Aha, this makes sense. One thing still doesn't quite seem to fit, though. The Mother Thing isn't wearing a space suit, and when the second escape happens, there is a point at which they're all fretfully discussing the problem that they can't take the Mother Thing with them. Only after some agonizing do they realize that Kip's suit, because it was made for a big, burly guy, is big enough that the Mother Thing can fit inside it with him. So it seems that the Mother Thing had her own suit for the first escape, then must have taken it off, while Peewee kept hers on. Seems strange. – Ben Crowell Oct 15 '19 at 20:31

As noted in another answer, Peewee and the Mother Thing needed space suits to get to the Wormface ship to make their escape -- however, that doesn't explain why they were still wearing them when they landed in Kip's back lot.

The Wormface ships have a constant boost drive. Even at only 1 G acceleration, Lunar surface to Earth surface with a turnover in the middle is only about three and a half hours -- during all of which time, Peewee was busy operating the ship (because her fingers fit the controller better than the Mother Thing's, as I recall). Mother Thing may have kept her own suit on in order to ease communication, as Peewee's cheap tourist suit lacked exterior microphone and speakers (even Kip's orbital construction suit lacked those amenities -- unnecessary in its intended use -- until it was repaired and upgraded by Mother Thing's people).

  • Actually the Mother Thing is not wearing a suit when they show up in Kip's field. This is made clear in the text and is also shown in the Del Rey cover. But your suggestion as to why Peewee may have been too busy to take hers off makes sense. Although the communication idea doesn't apply to the Mother Thing, it does explain why, in order to make the plot go, Heinlein needs Peewee to be wearing a spacesuit. He needs her to be on the omnidirectional frequency they use, so Kip can contact her, and on the DF frequency so he can guide her in. Presumably the saucer is radio-transparent. – Ben Crowell Oct 15 '19 at 20:35

She had been on a trip to the Moon when she got kidnapped. Her space suit is a basic tourist model, designed only for a short walk on the Moon's surface. That's why she doesn't have access to water, when Kip tells her to drink slowly.

  • Yes, that's why she has access to a space suit, but this isn't an explanation of why she's wearing a space suit when she lands on earth. She hasn't just been kidnapped hours before. She's been held at the Wormface base for days or weeks before escaping. – Ben Crowell Oct 15 '19 at 14:10
  • Sorry, I misunderstood the question. – sueelleker Oct 15 '19 at 18:17

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