As advanced of an organization as NASA is for technology, they’ve historically been behind the curve on equality. It wasn’t until the 1980’s that they even open their astronaut training to women, but since then women have been playing an integral part of the space program. So much so that their most recent recruiting class is 50% female.
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A big part of NASA’s push to involve more women in their astronaut program is the fact that they have their eyes set on Mars. The current training class, which was selected in 2013 from more than 6,000 potential candidates has been undergoing 2 years of flight training, underwater tests to learn to move in a spacesuit, and even a few rides on the “vomit comet” to get used to zero gravity. All of this training will go towards developing a program to put people on the surface of Mars.
The Mars missions will be complex and difficult on the astronauts for a variety of reasons, no the least of which is the distance. Mars is roughly 35 million miles from earth, so with current technology, the trip will take 9 months. Two of the candidates, Dr. Jessica Meir and Christina Hammock, have experience spending lots of time in Antarctica so they will be somewhat used to the desolate conditions of space.
Read: What this NASA Robot did on Mars is Surprisingly Human
In my opinion, women are far from the weaker sex, so it’s not surprising to see NASA adding more female astronauts to their ranks. For me, women offer a different perspective and attitude to any situation, and what better way to apply that than the most ambitious endeavor ever undertaken? It’s strange to me to think that as recently as the 1960’s NASA was denying women into the space program simply because they had no desire to train women. My, how times have changed. Thankfully so, you go girls!