Quite a few women astronauts have been to the space and stayed on the International Space Station (ISS) for months. However, when it comes to the moon, not even a single woman has been there. Under NASA’s Apollo program, several astronauts have been to the moon and some have landed on its surface.
The list of astronauts that have landed on the moon include Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, Gene Cernan, Al Shepard, Moss Duke, Pete Conrad, Stuart Roosa, James Irwin, Dave Scotts, Jack Schmidt and Jim Young. As is evident, none of the astronauts that have been to the moon are woman. It makes us wonder why no woman went to the moon. Here are some reasons as to why women never went to the moon.
Selection from military
Due to the complex nature of the moon missions, it was decided that only the best pilots should be chosen for the job. At that time, such capabilities were available only with the military. Due to this reason, a general rule was made that astronauts will be chosen from military and they will need to have engineering background and experience in flying experimental aircraft.
Moon mission was entirely new, so it became necessary that selected individuals have the capability to diagnose unknown problems and fix them in the shortest possible time. At that time, women were not allowed by the military to become pilots. This naturally cut them off from being selected for the moon mission.
Equipment designed to suit men
In later stages of Apollo program, NASA had started accepting candidates that were not necessarily test pilots or from military background. However, women could still not make it to the moon. That is because all the equipment was designed for male astronauts. The Apollo spacecraft was not designed to support mixed-gender crew.
There was hardly any privacy, which kept woman candidates out of the Apollo mission. Making changes to the Apollo spacecraft to accommodate women astronauts would have been costly. Plus, there was not enough time to introduce major updates to the spacecraft. This is why NASA continued with men-only approach for its moon missions.
Challenges with female anatomy
All the equipment onboard Apollo spacecraft was designed with men in mind. For example, men were able to urinate via a special device that connected to the penis. At that time, there was no dedicated equipment that could support female anatomy. Due to challenges associated with female anatomy, women did not make it to the moon.
Hygiene issues was another reason why women did not make it to the moon. Taking care of such issues would have required additional equipment, which was not available at that time.
Will women never land on moon?
Things are set to change, as NASA is looking to place the first woman on moon by 2024. Skill and technology barriers have been eliminated and there’s specialized equipment that can support women astronauts in their journey to the moon and back. The first female on moon will be a giant leap for womenkind. It will also usher in a new era of diversity and inclusion in space.