Author Topic: How will NASA integrate women into lunar missions?  (Read 19275 times)

Offline clongton

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Re: How will NASA integrate women into lunar missions?
« Reply #40 on: 10/14/2007 12:53 PM »
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CuddlyRocket - 14/10/2007  3:08 AM

I suspect an all-female crew would also be politically unacceptable. However, there is a very small possibility that women won't perform as well as men on lunar missions.
What possible reason could there be for such a thing? The only disadvantage women have vs. men on earth, generally speaking, is slightly less upper body strength, and even that has not proven to be a problem; even in the most grueling of occupations like firemen for example. One-sixth g would only serve to erase even that minor disadvantage. Female members of a crew or even an all female crew would have no lack that could possibly be eased by the presence of male crewmembers. Women are simply equally as qualified as men, all other things being equal. Gender simply does not and should never enter into the equation. They are people period.
Chuck - DIRECT co-founder
I started my career on the Saturn-V F-1A engine

Offline CuddlyRocket

Re: How will NASA integrate women into lunar missions?
« Reply #41 on: 10/14/2007 05:12 PM »
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clongton - 14/10/2007  1:53 PM

What possible reason could there be for such a thing?
I have no idea. If you ask me my opinion, I would say that I would be astonished if women can't perform as well as men on lunar missions. But then, if there was some completely unanticipated reason why not, everyone would be astonished. But astonishing things do turn out to be the case. There is no mathematical or scientific proof that women will perform as well as men on lunar missions. We know men can handle the missions, we've seen it, but we only surmise that women can do so as well. Thus there is a small, very small, probability that they cannot.

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Women are simply equally as qualified as men, all other things being equal.
But are all other things equal?

Women have a different metabolism to men, which is why there's a push to test drugs seperately on women and men - they work differently in the two genders. We know zero-g affects the metabolism, and these effects are different in men and women, but not so as to make one gender less able to perform in zero-g than another. We don't have any experimental evidence as to the effect of zero-g on women's metabolism. One day we will, but is the first mission back to the Moon the best time to obtain it?

Offline Namechange User

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Re: How will NASA integrate women into lunar missions?
« Reply #42 on: 10/14/2007 06:00 PM »
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CuddlyRocket - 14/10/2007  2:08 AM

After all, all the astronauts on the first missions will be American, which is a political criteria imposed over and above 'skills and talents'.

An all-white crew will be politically unacceptable. Period. Any NASA management that proposed that - even if the four most skilled and talented candidates happened to be white - would shortly thereafter cease to be NASA management. Hopefully, the four most skilled and talented candidates will include ethnic minorities. But if not, someone will be passed over.

I suspect an all-female crew would also be politically unacceptable. However, there is a very small possibility that women won't perform as well as men on lunar missions. I have no reason to believe this is the case, and think it highly unlikely - but highly unlikely translates as small possibility. One-sixth g might have some strange, unanticipated effect on the female metabolism for example. Very unlikely, but many unanticipated things are thought so before they occur.

NASA management could decide that for the first flight, all unneccessary risks should be avoided. A stance based on crew safety.  I think they could just about sustain that stance vis a vis crew selection. But it would be a brave NASA man (as it will probably be a man!) who took that decision!

Well first and foremost this program is an American program, so yes they will be and should be Americans.  The title of this thread is how will NASA integrate women, and NASA is an American agency.  No politics here bud just the people who go will be the people who paid for it.

As for the rest, that is pure speculation and just silly.
Enjoying viewing the forum a little better now by filtering certain users.

Offline clongton

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Re: How will NASA integrate women into lunar missions?
« Reply #43 on: 10/14/2007 06:38 PM »
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CuddlyRocket - 14/10/2007  1:12 PM

1. We know zero-g affects the metabolism, and these effects are different in men and women
2. We don't have any experimental evidence as to the effect of zero-g on women's metabolism.
1. We have had women astronauts aboard the ISS for as long as 6 months straight - with absolutely no affects whatsoever that were different from men.
2. See answer #1
Chuck - DIRECT co-founder
I started my career on the Saturn-V F-1A engine

Offline CuddlyRocket

Re: How will NASA integrate women into lunar missions?
« Reply #44 on: 10/17/2007 11:39 AM »
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OV-106 - 14/10/2007  7:00 PM

Well first and foremost this program is an American program, so yes they will be and should be Americans.  The title of this thread is how will NASA integrate women, and NASA is an American agency.  No politics here bud just the people who go will be the people who paid for it.
Well, duh! :)

And a perfectly reasonable stance. But still a political criterion on the choice of astronaut.

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As for the rest, that is pure speculation...
There's no getting things past you, is there!

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... and just silly.
Which is usually short for 'it involves things I don't personally like to think about or discuss'.

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clongton - 14/10/2007  7:38 PM

1. We have had women astronauts aboard the ISS for as long as 6 months straight - with absolutely no affects whatsoever that were different from men.
2. See answer #1
This Spaceref article refers to a minireview in the Journal of Applied Physiology, a publication of the American Physiological Society, which provides an overview of known and potential gender differences in physiological responses to spaceflight (my italics). Now the article is dated 2001, and things may have changed since then (though not to my knowledge), but you'll forgive me if I don't take your layman's word for it!

Offline eeergo

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Re: How will NASA integrate women into lunar missions?
« Reply #45 on: 10/17/2007 03:24 PM »
The article you link to was published in 2001, before the ISS had seen a long-duration crew, and especially a long-duration female crewmember. I think women had stayed in Mir before, but in any case they weren't many. The article talks about PARTIAL results about very narrow and well-defined physiological processes.

On top of that, in the very first paragraph, the article states:
"Insufficient data exist in most of the discipline areas at the present time to draw valid conclusions about gender-specific differences in astronauts or to determine their impact on the health of male and female astronauts.
The inability to draw statistical comparisons based on gender differences is linked to the small number of female astronauts, resulting in an insufficient study sample. In addition, individual differences in physiological responses within genders are usually as large as, or larger than, differences between genders, so individual characteristics usually outweigh gender differences per se."

I guess that says it all.

Of course there are differences between men and women, and maybe some problems (like the drug-absorbtion ones because of different hormone fluxes in the body and because of period processes) will crop up that don't occur in men. BUT, there are probably as many problems that can affect men and do not affect women (the ventricular dysrhythmias, for example, are THOUGHT to affect more to men, for example, per the article)

I'm sure many (and I mean many) results have been gained throughout these 6 years of ISS expeditions, and more will be gained in the 8 years (hopefully more :)) that are still to come. Differences will be found between both methabolisms, but I'm sure no single one will be so incapacitant that will make any serious scientist or physician doubt about the readiness of women for ANY kind of astronaut job (and any other, for that matter)

This discussion is, in my opinion, and with the very little real, unbiased facts presented, as pointless as debating about the readiness for women to be in the Army.
-DaviD-

Offline CuddlyRocket

Re: How will NASA integrate women into lunar missions?
« Reply #46 on: 10/19/2007 12:44 PM »
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eeergo - 17/10/2007  4:24 PM

The article you link to was published in 2001...
Yes, I know, but that was the only reference I could find on the Internet. My understanding is that there are gender-specific differences in the response to weightlessness (and therefore possibly to one-sixth g). Now, I could be wrong, and am willing to take a reference to something that says that, or have someone with expertise in the field say that. In which case, fine.

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... but I'm sure no single one will be so incapacitant that will make any serious scientist or physician doubt about the readiness of women for ANY kind of astronaut job ...
I've already said that I would myself be astonished if there was any such gender-specific problems with one-sixth g. But 'serious scientists and physicians' have been astonished in the past where things about which they had no doubt turned out not to be true - that's what 'unanticipated' means.

We have demonstrated that male astronauts can perform on the Moon. We have not demonstrated that female ones can. Until we have done so, there is a small - very small - possibility that they can't. Now, is that risk so small that it can be ignored, or does it need to be managed by phasing in the introduction of female lunar astronauts?

Personally, I believe that the political requirement to be seen to be non-discriminatory on gender grounds (with which I concur) will mean that the decision is that the risk is so small that it can safely be ignored. I wondered if others agreed with that, which is why I started the thread. And from the responses it would seem to be the case! :)

Offline MrTim

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Re: How will NASA integrate women into lunar missions?
« Reply #47 on: 10/19/2007 04:56 PM »
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CuddlyRocket - 19/10/2007  5:44 AM
We have demonstrated that male astronauts can perform on the Moon. We have not demonstrated that female ones can. Until we have done so, there is a small - very small - possibility that they can't. Now, is that risk so small that it can be ignored, or does it need to be managed by phasing in the introduction of female lunar astronauts?
I am 100% certain we will see an American woman on the moon in one of the earliest flights. There WILL be practical issues to consider; the moon has gravity and suits are heavy and bulky so the women (like the men) we send will have to be able to deal with matters they do not need to cope with on ISS. While I am sure the politics would force the matter if nothing else did (opposition to a "glass ceiling" on the Moon), I do not think that will be why a woman goes. NASA would probably do it for the PR value without any external pressure; The 1st woman to step onto the moon will draw good publicity for NASA as Sally Ride, Susan Collins, and Barbara Morgan did. It will also cause half of the population to be more-supportive of NASA and serve to inspire girls to study math and science; winning exercise all-around.

Another note to consider: All studies and conversations on such things tend to focus on a typical male compared to a typical female. You tend to hear that the average man is physically stronger and better at math and spacial skills than the average woman, while the average woman is better at certain managerial tasks, or ... plug-in whatever bit of typical-human trivia you have seen on the web. NASA does not, however, send average men or women into space. Some women are better than some men at math and science. Some women are stronger than some men. NASA has, essentially, access to all the best men and women in the world and they pick INDIVIDUALS and they test, screen and train those individuals. Recent events have shown that the testing and screening may not yet be perfect, but it is clearly QUITE good, and I am sure we will all be proud of the very-capable women who go. If humanity is to have any long-term future, men AND women MUST go to the Moon and to Mars. Mars needs women!  :laugh: (nod to old cheesy movies)

Offline CuddlyRocket

Re: How will NASA integrate women into lunar missions?
« Reply #48 on: 10/20/2007 09:23 AM »
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MrTim - 19/10/2007  5:56 PM

I am 100% certain we will see an American woman on the moon in one of the earliest flights.
Probably the first, definitely by the second! :)

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NASA would probably do it for the PR value without any external pressure; The 1st woman to step onto the moon will draw good publicity for NASA as Sally Ride, Susan Collins, and Barbara Morgan did.
If PR was the prime determinant, it would probably be better to send the first woman on the second flight. After all, the first flight will get plenty of good publicity of its own!

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NASA has, essentially, access to all the best men and women in the world ...
As long as they actually want to go, and as long as they're US citizens (for the first flights at least)! :)

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...I am sure we will all be proud of the very-capable women who go. If humanity is to have any long-term future, men AND women MUST go to the Moon and to Mars.
And on that note of agreement, it may be as well to end this thread! :)

Offline simonbp

Re: How will NASA integrate women into lunar missions?
« Reply #49 on: 10/21/2007 10:05 PM »
How they'll integrate women isn't an issue; they just will.

A better and far more important question is: How will they integrate the scientists?

With Apollo, it was really chancy; some of the test pilots were really good doing the science (like Lovell or Scott, for example), while others cared so little they actively imped the work (Shepard or Conrad). With Constellation bringing four Astros on the surface, probably two of them are going to lunar scientists, allowing for two pilot/scientist teams (like 17, but doubled). This means both scientists who are used to working the field, and pilots who are willing to learn a bit of science. These weren't requirements for Apollo, but I do hope they are taken into consideration in the future...

Simon

Offline Moon King

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RE: How will NASA integrate women into lunar missions?
« Reply #50 on: 10/22/2007 04:28 PM »
NASA will no doubt hire a lot of scientist astronauts in their future classes, however, they will be foremost astronauts. Like Barbara Morgan, teacher astronaut but foremost an ASTRONAUT!!!

There are too few flights and astronauts will object if 4 out of the 8 seats available each year (2 lunar flights) are taken by non astronauts!!!
NASA- Returning to the moon (when politicians quit slashing our budget)

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