Wednesday, August 04, 2004

At last: a study on how microgravity affects women

The European Space Agency has put out a preliminary call for women to take part in a two month bed-rest study, the first such undertaken in order to understand the longer term affects of microgravity on women. (For more details see

We know that the Mercury 13 women, in 1960, performed better at many tests than their male counterparts, the Mercury 7. However, the gender imbalance in space has not really shifted that much: after Valentina Tereshkova's historic spaceflight in 1962 (the poor dear had to do it with period pain too, what a heroine), it was another TWENTY YEARS before another woman was allowed into the bloke zone. So in effect, despite a growth in women astronauts and cosmonauts, the boffins still don't really know how women's bodies adjust to space. Good on the ESA for doing something about it.

So bring on two months in bed with trashy magazines and cable television. If I lived in Europe I'd be there.

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