A recent study has suggested that an all-female crew to Mars may be the best option due to their efficiency. The research, conducted by the European Space Agency (ESA), shows that women utilize less oxygen, release less carbon dioxide, and require less food than men.
Throughout history, only a small number of people have traveled into space, with even fewer being women. Out of the 622 individuals who have launched into space, only 72 were women.
The team of scientists simulated a 1080-day mission with four female astronauts and discovered that they would need 3,736 pounds less food than a team comprising male astronauts. This finding could save NASA more than $158 million in food expenses.
Potential advantages of the all-female crew for space missions
The study has brought to light the potential advantages of having an all-female crew for long space missions, including the mission to Mars. It is important to note that these findings do not suggest that women are superior to men in space, but rather highlight the benefits of gender diversity in space exploration.
The research results showed that an optimal astronaut could be a combination of both male and female. However, the study also revealed that an all-female crew could save significant resources during the mission.
Specifically, the crew’s smaller physical size would free up eight cubic feet of space in the capsule, which is roughly equivalent to four percent of the “Gateway” HALO module in NASA’s proposed lunar orbit space station.
The male astronauts had a 30% higher total energy expenditure, 60% higher oxygen consumption, 60% higher carbon dioxide production, and a 17% higher water requirement. On the other hand, female astronauts had much better metrics, with a 30% reduction in these factors as their body size increased.
Photo: Russian cosmonaut Anna Kikina
NASA+Nature Scientific Reports: women, not men, are born for working in space: they're smaller, their repro system is less vulnerable to radiation, etc. We shd plan an all-female crew for an expedition to Mars. #WomenInSpace #FemaleAdvantage pic.twitter.com/CmblT0By21
— Spanish Inquisition Baba Yaga 🇷🇺🇨🇦🇲🇽 (@AltarielArtanis) May 6, 2023
NASA scientist Geoffrey Landis has long believed that women are better suited for space missions. He said, “Women are on average smaller than males: women use less oxygen, consume less consumables, produce less carbon dioxide.”
He further said, “They have lower mass and take up less volume. The argument for an all-female crew is simple: such a crew would require considerably less support… and allow a smaller spacecraft. This would produce a considerable savings in cost.”
First woman to visit moon
NASA astronaut Christina Koch, who holds the record for the longest amount of time a woman has spent in space and for participating in the first all-female spacewalk, was recently named the first woman to visit the moon when NASA’s Artemis II mission launches next year.
This mission marks NASA’s first trip to the moon in half a century and is a test for the agency’s ultimate goal of sending humans to Mars.
If the Artemis II mission is successful, NASA plans to send another mission to land humans on the moon in 2025 as part of its preparation for future Mars missions. These findings highlight the importance of considering gender and physical size when selecting crews for extended space missions and could help reduce the resources required for such missions.