DAA Daily

Does Space Affect Women and Men Differently?

Charlotte Eykerman Staff Reporter, The Pawprint

This month saw the first all-female spacewalk, Jessica Meir and Christina Koch. They had been training together for more than 6 years and they were both selected as astronauts in 2013. Jessica Meir quotes “It really was an incredible experience and a mixture of emotions going out the door the first time,” and she also said “I’ll never forget looking down and seeing my boots and the Earth below.”

Just over 10% of all the people that have traveled in Space have been women. Of the 564 astronauts only 65 have been women.

The first woman to ever travel to Space was, Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova in 1963. It wasn’t until 1983 that NASA sent their first woman, Sally Ride into space to become the third woman (the second was also Russian) and the first American to go into space.

After Ride went on her trip, the media asked her if she had taken any makeup with her or if she had cried when there were malfunctions during the flight. But the real question is, does space affect women and men differently?

A space gynecologist, Dr. Varsha Jain is specialized to understand how a woman’s body adapts in space. Dr. Jain states that, “Overall adaptation to the space environment is roughly the same for men and women, but there are some differences.”

Women tend to feel sick when they travel into Space while men get re-entry sickness when coming back to earth. Men also tend to get more problems with their vision and hearing while women don’t. Instead, women have problems with their blood pressure so they often feel faint.

Dr. Jain also states that, “There are some differences but we aren’t sure if it has to do with the hormonal differences or physiological changes that are occurring. If we were to understand these differences, we would learn more about human health on earth.”

Life is harder in Space for women since the toilets haven’t been programmed to deal with blood. When astronauts go to the bathroom in Space, their urine is recycled and is then used for drinking water, but none of the toilets are able to extract the water from period blood. Therefore the water in it is lost and not recycled.

Let’s hope that more women go to space but they better start making more suits! 🙂

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