Till date 564 individuals have visited space, out of which only 65 were women. This is surprising as a Soviet cosmonaut called Valentina Tereshkova was the first lady to visit space. She went out to the orbit way back in 1963. NASA needed 20 more years for achieving the feat. Sally Ride was the third lady and the first even woman from America in 1983 to visit the space.
Ahead of her journey to the space, the media asked her whether she was carrying makeup with her on the trip. They also asked her questions like if she cried during malfunctions with the simulator of the flight. On October 18, NASA tested its first spacewalk with an all-female crew. Plans to execute this mission were scrapped earlier this year due to the shortage of spacesuit for one of the members who need a medium-sized suit.
In the last 10 years, Varsha Jain, a doctor by profession, has been employed as a part-time space gynecologist. Dr. Jain simultaneously works on her PhD at the Edinburgh University’s MRC Centre of Reproductive Health as well as the health of NASA’s women in space. Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live’s Emma Barnett, she said that women and men adapt to space environment in a similar manner. However, there are certain differences. Men are prone to getting sick during re-entry to the earth as they return from their mission. In contrast, women are inclined to feel ill when they travel into space.
Further, men have problems related to hearing and vision when they return from space. Women do not get that. On returning, women have problems maintaining blood pressure levels. As a result, they feel a little faint. However, the cause for these subtle differences is yet to be discovered. They might be due to physiological changes as well as hormonal differences. Discovering the root cause of these patterns will help researchers to better understand the health of human beings on Earth.