Jessica Meir is a 42-year-old NASA astronaut who spent International Women’s Day in a rather strange position: being the only woman currently in space (according to Space.com).
Meir completed her training back in 2015, and out of the approximately 550 people who have ever been in space, only 65 have been women.
Despite these statistics, though, scientists say that women, in fact, may be more suited for space travel than men.
One of the reasons why women are believed to be better space travelers than men is the sheer size. Men, on average, weigh more than women, and having smaller people into space requires less fuel and less space. To add to that, a 2013 study that simulated survival conditions on Mars showed that women require fewer calories, which means fewer food supplies. The same research showed that when both men and women had similar activity levels, women test subjects only needed around half of the same caloric intake.
As we all know, space travel affects the human body in various ways. While both men and women experience a series of negative responses to space travel, though, those responses can differ.
For example, men in space are more prone to disease, and they tend to experience hearing loss more quickly. To add to that, they also suffer from vision loss more often than women, and this led NASA astronaut Scott Kelly to write in his autobiography that “we just might have to send an all-women crew to Mars”.
In honor of yesterday being #InternationalWomensDay, we at @NASA honor those that came before us, paving our path to the @Space_Station and beyond. Next stop, the Moon. #Artemis pic.twitter.com/e9BcFOumcF
— Jessica Meir (@Astro_Jessica) March 9, 2020
Meir addressed her representation for women during a video she shared on International Women’s Day on her Twitter account, and she said that it takes all sorts of people from diverse backgrounds to explore the unknown and make things that are seemingly impossible – possible.
“When we all work together, there is no limit to what we can accomplish.” – she added.