Women already live longer and are less susceptible than men to heart disease – so does that mean women more suitable for space travel/exploration?
From an economic point of view, yes.
Kate Greene was inspired to conduct her own scientific study during a simulated Mars camp on Hawaii’s Mauna Kea volcano she was reporting on. She studied the eating and sleeping habits of herself and five others on camp to find that not only did men eat more, they also had a tougher time when it came to maintaining their weight. She also found that women burned fewer calories than men – sometimes less than half of what their male counterparts did.
Because space exploration is very costly, in a matter of simple mathematics, male astronauts would take up more of the already limited resources needed in space.
Relevant: NASA Rover Opportunity Finds Signs Mars Once Had Fresh Water
However, these findings reflect not only various gender disparities but also a lot of generalizations. It talks about body mass and the cost of rocket fuel needed, of the rate at which men tend to burn calories faster and various other variables. It doesn’t seem very fair to automatically assume that a one gender necessarily fits into these biological and physiological frameworks. In other words, be it a man or woman, metabolic rates and body masses vary among and between the two genders.
This is essentially what Harry Jones, a NASA researcher highlights, pointing out that that astronaut selection should focus on “crew performance, including group dynamics, individual psychology, etc.”
But as Greene laments, “Space-mission design has always been biased in one way or another.” So why not turn the table a bit and give some extra points to women?