Giant leap for women
BY wangxingwei from 21st Century
Published 2020-10-13
In 2024, NASA will send a female astronaut to the moon for the first time. TUCHONG

In the last century, a series of missions have been carried out to explore the moon – Earth’s only natural satellite. Among them, NASA’s Apollo 11 mission was groundbreaking as it succeeded in landing the first humans on the moon on July 20, 1969.

Several decades later, NASA announced its Artemis program. Named after the Greek goddess of the moon and twin sister of Apollo, the Artemis program will send humans to the moon by the year 2024. And this time, the moon will welcome its first female astronaut.

Up until now, only 12 people, all male, have ever walked on the moon. “The last person walked on the Moon in 1972,” Bettina Inclan, NASA communications director said in a statement. “No woman has ever walked on the lunar surface.”

But the Artemis program will change this.

Women, of course, have been involved in space projects and made valuable contributions. In 1963, astronaut Valentina Tereshkova from the Soviet Union became the first woman to blast off into space.

However, the progress toward women’s access to space flight programs has been slow. Women have been held back by various requirements and security concerns. For example, astronauts had to be test pilots with a certain amount of experience. This was a problem as the field was dominated by males at the time. Indeed, the gender bias seemed to exist in the early space programs, The New York Times reported.

In 1962, NASA wrote to a little girl who wanted to be an astronaut. The letter said, “We have no present plans to employ women on spaceflights because of the degree of scientific and flight training, and the physical characteristics, which are required.”

Women have indeed made progress in this particular area, and arguably have advantages over their male colleagues. Women tend to be smaller, which means they use less oxygen and take up less space in small spacecrafts. Also, women usually have greater emotional awareness and communication skills that make them better-suited to long spaceflights.

Despite challenges, women have shown that they are more than capable of joining that elite group of men who have gone to the moon. And this will truly be a remarkable moment in history.

(Translator & Editor: Wang Xingwei AND Luo Sitian)
Satellite  卫星
Blast off  发射升空
Gender bias  性别歧视
Elite  精英