Let us just send women into space.

If you are packing up and preparing to participate in an interstellar mission – a task that takes a long time and may have to reproduce on a distant planet – then the most sensible option might be to send a team of all women as aerospace Team of people.

Don’t be too busy with this, think about NASA’s decades of recruiting only male astronauts and sending them to space. In fact, in the 58 years that humans entered space orbit, only about 11% of astronauts (63 people) were women. What does this ratio mean?

“NASA has been avoiding sending a female astronaut team to perform space missions because it looks like a gimmick,” said Margaret Whitkamp, ​​director of the National Air and Space Museum. But in some ways, women may be more suitable for space travel than men, which may be unexpected.

Let us mainly look at four points. Generally speaking, women are more petite; space flight has less impact on women’s body; certain personality traits of women are more suitable for long-term tasks; the last point is that if you want to open on another planet Earth, it is necessary to reproduce the offspring, and so far, it is impossible to do this from the biological women, and the male contribution can be… well, I will discuss it in detail later.

If the destination of space travel is Mars or other planets (!), the difference between transporting enough food for tall men and petite women may be obvious.

The first is the advantage in weight. It’s wise to send lighter people into space, because using rockets to carry heavy loads into space and manipulating rockets in space requires fuel and costs money.

“Someone is considering the use of all-female astronauts – at least thinner astronauts – for many years, which is beneficial from the perspective of the total weight of space missions.” Wayne former engineer and space shuttle program manager Wayne · Hale said.

The study found that sending six smaller women into space and staying in space for months or years may be much cheaper than sending six burly men into space, and the benefits of lighter weight are not limited to this. Smaller people need less food, oxygen, and other resources necessary to sustain life.

In a short space flight, this difference may be negligible. But if the destination of space travel is Mars or other planets (!), the difference between transporting enough food for tall men and petite women may be obvious, because on average, the calories that men need every day. 15% to 25% more than women.

In 2013, Kate Green participated in a four-month simulation mission in a Mars habitat, during which time she discovered the difference.

One of Green’s assigned tasks is to monitor the metabolites of other astronauts. She said in the report that women consume less than half of men’s calories in the same amount of activity.

In addition, people with smaller bodies produce less waste (such as carbon dioxide and other body exudates), which means lower demand for spacecraft systems that recycle and remove these waste.

So why not just send a small astronaut, why should you consider gender?

Because the human body reacts differently to space flight, and although the relative data is relatively small—again, the number of times women fly in space—but women’s bodies seem to have some advantages in bearing the effects of space flight.

Above the Earth’s magnetic field protection layer, exposure to harmful radiation is faster, leading to an increased risk of cancer and other diseases. In addition, in the microgravity environment, neither the cell nor the whole body can perceive the upper and lower, and the body will have strange conditions. Fluid displacement, decreased immune response, significant changes in the expression patterns of a few genes, and inexplicable decline in visual acuity.

In goal-oriented short-term activities, men tend to be handy, while women are better at dealing with long-term activities such as stationing.

At the beginning of the Mercury program, NASA has been studying astronauts’ physiological responses to space flight to collect medical data. In 2014, NASA released a large report compiled from data collected over decades.

“It’s not until recently that we have more women involved in space missions,” so research on gender differences is still in its infancy, says Virginia Watling of the Space Medicine Center at Baylor College of Medicine. Men seem to be less affected by cosmic motion sickness, but hearing loss is faster. The incidence of female urinary tract infections seems to be high (all women will tell you that this is not a problem unique to space flight).

More importantly, men often have problems with decreased vision, and women are less likely to have the problem. NASA’s astronaut Scott Kelly has spent 520 days in space, and he suffers from eye diseases, which is enough to prove this. In his autobiography, he wrote half jokingly that if scientists could not pinpoint the causes of these eye problems, “we are afraid to send a team of all-female astronauts to Mars.”

This idea is good. But in addition to physical factors, there are other aspects to consider. How do you get along with a female astronaut team in a spacecraft that is being held in space for months or years? In fact (shock!), scientists know very little about how the female astronaut team survives in a narrow monotonous space environment.

In a small number of studies on the factors that influence the success or failure of long-term missions, scientists have observed teams with similar extreme experiences such as desert survival, polar expeditions, and Antarctic wintering on Earth.

They found that in goal-oriented short-term activities, men tend to be more comfortable, while women are better at dealing with long-term activities such as stationing.

“Residents must be more sensitive to interpersonal relationships, and must pay more attention to and communicate more,” said psychologist Cheryl Bishop, a researcher at the University of Texas Medical Division specializing in behavioral research. “Females have learned a lot from the beginning. Aspect skills.”

But this is not to say that men can’t adapt to long-term space missions, but that the key traits needed to successfully complete these tasks are often related to women.

Finally, it may be the least direct and controversial issue: how humans will thrive on distant planets in the future. You can send three men and three women, let them go to the ceremony, and give birth to more offspring. But still have to consider the cost: since it is possible to collect male sperm into a vial and freeze it, then send it into space, then why send the man over? The entire female astronaut team is sent into space along with a sperm bank. The space program is not only more economical, but the genetic diversity of the parent population has also increased.

Let’s review the previous ones. Considering the cost per kilogram of transportation, the body’s tolerance to the affected, psychosocial skills and the ability to give birth to a space baby, women seem to be well suited for long-distance space travel. In turn, does this mean that men should not be sent to perform these tasks?

it’s not true. Data on group mobility indicates that the work of the mixed men and women team is the most successful overall when the team works together. We can explain in detail why women perform well in long-term space exploration, but can’t say that the all-female astronaut team can do the best. (But it’s almost certain that the all-female astronaut team is definitely better than a group of guys who are strong, squinting, stubborn, and infertile.)

In 192 years, the judges of the US Supreme Court were all male. When asked how many women in the Supreme Court were enough, Judge Ruth Bad Ginsberg’s response was striking: “When all nine judges are women.” Never before The female astronaut team, but the entire male astronaut team has been around for decades. When will there be enough women in the spaceship? When all qualified astronauts have equal opportunities.

Gender, sex and space

To make it easier to discuss who should be sent into space, let us explain our terminology like NASA. In a study entitled “The Impact of Sex and Gender on Space Adaptability,” “sex” is defined as “the classification of men or women based on individual genes”; “gender” is defined as “one person based Social interaction, self-presentation as a male or female.” So far, when NASA sent people into space, they have already determined their sexuality, but did not mention their gender self-presentation, and completely avoided the problem related to sexual orientation – that is, which person will be Sexual attraction.

– Nadia Drake

Women’s many “firsts” in space
Valentina Tereshkova
June 16-19, 1963

The Soviet astronaut was the first woman to enter space. She spent about 70 hours in the “Oriental 6” spacecraft, flying 48 times around the Earth.

Sally Ryder
June 18-24, 1983

The NASA astronaut performed the space mission on the Challenger space shuttle, becoming the first woman in the United States and the third in the world to enter space.

Svetlana Savitzskaya
July 25, 1984

The Soviet astronaut was the first woman to walk in space. She conducted a space walk of about 3.5 hours outside the Salute 7 space station.

Peggy Whitson

October 10, 2008

The NASA astronaut became the first female international space station commander in a mission in 2008; in 2017, she again served as commander.