Should The First Mission To Mars Be All-Female?

A Mars mission is back in NASA’s sights, not to mention the private attempt Mars One. And a colonization mission is really all but inevitable. But one author argues no man should be first on Mars.

To be fair to Kate Greene, her article in Slate is based on both her scientific experience and working on the HI-SEAS Mars simulation, and it does have two salient points. The first is that women, on average, weigh less than men and secondly, they eat less. So, there would be less overall weight, and in theory, it would be cheaper to launch an all-female mission than it would an all-male mission. Or, at least, we should be putting smaller people on the ship, Greene argues.

It’s a good idea in the rough draft, even if Slate blatantly positioned the article to troll the sexist douchebag portion of the Internet. However, there are a few overall issues that would need to be licked in order for it to work. First of all, as you may have guessed, becoming an astronaut is insanely difficult; you need a PhD in a STEM field just to be considered. As of right now, our pool of women to choose for a mission is unfortunately quite limited. Then there are the physical requirements, which most of the population would wash out on, period: A NASA shuttle suit with full life support weighs 310 pounds.

Even Greene herself notes that she and the crew of the mission preferred a diverse group of people, which is also important, as it’s easy to lose it in space and comforts are few. So, in the end, it’s an interesting theory, but it falls down where a lot of theories do: Putting it into practice.