back to article Mars needs women, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less

Women, not men, should form the crew of the first personned mission to Mars, according to boffin and pretend NASA-naut Kate Greene. Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) Greene, the crew writer for one of NASA’s HI-SEAS (Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation) pretendy Martian mission, said in an article for Slate that female …

  1. Semtex451 Silver badge

    Can I volunteer my wife?

    Mind you, while she is light, the shoes and handbags might eat into the mass budget.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      joke maybe, but you have a point

      You only need to look in any womans bathroom to be perplexed by the amount of personal products. Likely they would amount to way more than the weight saving.

      Real men only need;

      Something that cleans when things get too dirty.

      Something that shaves (Optional - use the above for "Shaving Gel effect"

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: joke maybe, but you have a point

        "Real men only need; Something that cleans when things get too dirty."

        You're not a true man if you recognise the concept of "too dirty". If for whatever reason, the dirt interferes with the functional properties of something, you're allowed to clean it, but in isolation, dirt of itself is no reason to clean. Take a sock, that (for whatever dubious reason) has got rather revolting and gone hard, the reason for cleaning is only to remove the hardness that makes it difficult to put to any particular use.

        1. illiad

          Re: joke maybe, but you have a point

          erm he wasn't talking about clothes!!! ANY man knows, if your equipment isnt clean enough to function properly, its no good to anyone... A thick layer of grease is ok for the mechanical stuff, but ...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: joke maybe, but you have a point@ illiad

            "if your equipment isnt clean enough to function properly, its no good to anyone..."

            That was my point. How will an undergraduate wank into a sock that's as rigid as a carbon nanotube, and as flat as graphene? And in that case grease probably isn't going to do as good a job as a quick cycle in a cheap washing machine.

    2. JeffyPoooh Silver badge

      Good arguments can be too good...

      Augment the gender argument with age and race. One can probably see where this is going.

      The first person on Mars will actually be... ...somebody from the NHK / Discovery Channel joint venture video crew that arrives the day before to set up. Amusingly, it'll be 14 long months until an investigative blogger even notices and starts asking who was operating the camera.

    3. Roger Varley

      I'd like to nominate Theresa May and Hariett Harmon.

      1. Thorne

        I'd volunteer my ex except while her calorific expenditure is low it's because she does SFA.........

  2. Yugguy

    This'll never work

    They'll just synchronise that time and then you won't be able to talk to them for one week in four.

    1. Semtex451 Silver badge

      Re: This'll never work

      Poor bloody Martian bast*rds

      1. Thorne

        Re: This'll never work

        "Poor bloody Martian bast*rds"

        Only fair to invade them like they keep invading us in the movies...

    2. JimmyPage Silver badge

      Re: This'll never work

      Of course, once they are out of earth orbit - and away from the cyclic gravitational pull of the moon, we have no idea how - or if - menstruation would work.

      So in that sense, there's valuable science to be learned here.

      My bet is that scientists will discover there's a weird backup system in place.

      I would downvote you for casual stereotypical misogyny, but then your post did cause a scientific question, so I guess it's evens.

      1. joeW Silver badge

        Re: This'll never work

        Tell me you're joking. Please, please tell me you don't actually think menstruation or lack thereof is in any way influenced by lunar gravity.

        1. JimmyPage Silver badge

          Re: This'll never work



          but no biology

          TBH I have no idea how menstruation is controlled. Which is why I posed the question. Although the 28-day nature of it does suggest lunar involvement.

          1. MrDamage

            Lunar Involvement

            It is more than likely due to the extra light from a full moon allowing the ancient menfolk to go about on some prologned hunting trips, and leaving the women to scream their heads off at each other, than it has to do with lunar gravity.

      2. illiad

        Re: This'll never work

        well I hate to disappoint, but women have been going to space since the 1960's... I'm sure they know what happens by now... so do tell me, do you regularly have chats with your mate's about 'how to pee' ???? LOL

        that must be difficult in zero gravity.... LOL

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: This'll never work

          If you have to know, read Niven & Pournelle's Lucifer's Hammer.

      3. illiad

        Re: This'll never work

        ... and you are definitely a moonstruck lunatic if you think the moon has ANYTHING to do with it... :)

    3. Trigonoceps occipitalis

      Re: This'll never work

      It is well established that such sychronisation does take place. Pheromones or something.

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: This'll never work

        Somehow I rather think that if they are worried about the different mass of food eaten by women and men, they will not be willing to send up a shed-load of tampons and will require all femonauts to be on the pill in some form (implant perhaps)

      2. Marcelo Rodrigues

        Re: This'll never work

        "It is well established that such sychronisation does take place. Pheromones or something."

        They DO synchronize - but not with the moon. It is quite common for the women in a given place to have their periods at the same time. It takes time to happen. It isn't something that we see in just one week, but... Probably pheromones, I don't know. But surely not the Moon.

        Think about it: the Moon is the same for all of us. That would keep all the women, on a given region, having their periods at the same time.

    4. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: This'll never work

      How many women with PMS does it take to change a lightbulb.




    5. Yugguy

      Re: This'll never work

      Trust me - it'll happen.

      As a student I shared a house with 4 girls.

      And they did.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    all female crew...

    ...sure would bring eye-balls to crew-on-crew webcam action... maybe a way to pay for the cost of the trip.

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: all female crew...

      crew-on-crew webcam action

      I'll try to resist any dykes/canals jokes. Well, almost...

      In any case, given the time delay involved.

      "Show us your t*ts"

      ...time passes...

      "too late, I'm already finished"

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: all female crew...

      Send one male, many females. No need to give them enough fuel for the return trip.

      1. oldcoder

        Re: all female crew...

        No need to send any males... Just send frozen sperm.

        It would allow a theoretical doubling of the population in 10 months. Then an increase by to three times in another 10 months.

        After about 17 years, the rate starts increasing rather than decreasing.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: all female crew...

      It would probably pay for the launch, the trip, the stay, the return trip, and as many additional trips as they propose. Of course, some bible-belt senator will probably try to defund NASA, but at that point, do you think they'd need government funding?

  4. DJO Silver badge

    She may have a point

    For a colonisation mission an all female crew is the best bet to ensure genetic diversity.

    As long as you include a freezer full of sperm and a turkey baster, that way you could have a few dozen women and genetically speaking tens if not hundreds of thousands of men which should last for several generations until the colony has a sufficiently diverse genetic base.

    1. fritsd

      MButi people would qualify

      It's a shame that the D.R.C. is not known for its stable government or high-tech space technology, but MButi women (pygmies) sound like an excellent choice to represent us, the human race, on Mars.

      - They're small

      - They're black (better UV protection)

      - (Wikipedia) "Women are in charge of cooking, cleaning and repairing the hut, and obtaining water." Those are the tasks that are of primary importance in a Mars base or colony, no need for beefy, ambitious men full of adrenaline, they'd just get bored after months and months together in a tin can, or afterwards, when the most vital task is research to find out if Quinoa grows well in a mixture of Martian soil and Astronaut shit. ("what's for dinner today?" "quinoa sadza with earthworms, just like every day" "yum!")

      - The environment on Mars might be healthier for them than the environment in Congo..

      About sexism and racism: most of the astro- and cosmonauts (not the taikonauts) have been tall Caucasian men. Is it difficult to imagine small black African women on Mars? Could you, dear reader, be proud, or would you grumble "pity they don't look more like me; I don't really feel represented on Mars".

      1. Yugguy

        Re: MButi people would qualify

        You see, people call me a mysogynist.

        But I gave you an upvote.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Seems sensible...

    It does make a lot of sense, but I do ask one thing, teach them how to wear a bloody jumper instead of turning the heating up to 25 degrees, otherwise all those savings will be lost!

  6. Ian Emery Silver badge

    What will they do with the sanitary towel mountain when they arrive????

    (Who at the back said "put a cork in it??).

    If taken up, this means no Russian females will go to Mars, the amount of polish and powder required for that length of time is likely to implode and create a black hole.

    (I have dated RW's so I should know).

    1. illiad

      Put a CUP in it!! :) no need for towels..

      you poor sensitive souls, do not click link if you cannot stand ADULT stuff... LOL

      also far less chance of infections... :)

    2. JeffyPoooh Silver badge

      i.e. "sanitary towel mountain"

      I don't think that's the sort of towel that Douglas Adams was intending.

  7. El_Fev

    Good god...

    Can you imagine the bitchfest on that ship after two years together ... the Real House wives of Mars :S

    1. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

      Re: Good god...

      I was thinking more along the lines of a Thelma and Louise ending.

  8. AMBxx Silver badge


    Judging by the comments and the number of downvotes, we appear to have an equal number of male sexists and women without a sense of humour on here.

    1. AMBxx Silver badge

      Re: Hmmm

      So who downvoted? Non-sexist male or a female with a sense of humour?!

  9. Nanners

    one for the ages

    A cat fight for the ages that one.

  10. TheOtherHobbes

    >"an all-female Mars crew would strike many as exceptionally biased"

    If the space thing doesn't work out, I predict a stellar career in deadpan stand-up.

  11. Andy Gates

    KSR being predictive again...

    In 2312 he had "smalls" - a whole clade of little people who worked in deep space for the mass/life-support/ship-size reasons listed here.

    Start with 5'6 and 70kg, say. That way you can get some smaller men as well. It's not like the extra mass for a carthorse like me's justifiable!

    1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge

      Re: KSR being predictive again...

      As long as you consider the risk that the entire tiny space ship might be eaten by a small dog.

  12. IE User

    It definitely makes sense

    ...but why stop there - pygmys or people suffering of dwarfism (Achondroplasia if you want) would fit better yet.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: It definitely makes sense

      Or even selectively breed some squid to be be very intelligent... They are smaller than us, have very good eyes, and their aquatic environment may help with high G-forces.

      - Apologies to S. Baxter.

      1. hplasm Silver badge

        Re: It definitely makes sense

        "breed some squid...They are smaller than us..."

        Jesus- how big are you?


    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It definitely makes sense

      Dwarves....interesting idea. Perhaps, to save on heating fuel, they could wear furry 'onesies'. Throw in a few spears, and you have Ewoks. All that's needed is a forest and some storm troopers, and you can rename it Endor.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It definitely makes sense

      "pygmys or people suffering of dwarfism "

      Why pick on them? That Warwick Wossname seems like a decent chap, I don't want him sending to Mars. And pygmies, can't say I've met many, but I've no particular reason to think they deserve to be sent i a tin can to Mars.

      But if we're looking for short people that we'd like to send off into space, what about Bono? And Tom Cruise. Prince. Woody Allen......

  13. My-Handle

    Some logic to the discussion...

    A lot of what this article talks about in order to support the "send women to Mars" viewpoint can be discounted.

    Firstly: Women are smaller, and thus consume less. This is true as a general trend, however there are a great many small men out there. Picking a small man would work just as well.

    Secondly: Women tend to deal with isolation and sensory deprivation better than men. Again, if true then this is a general trend. There is a rigorous selection process for selecting astronauts, so any general trend that applies to men may well not hold true for astronauts, as they are a carefully selected sub-set of men.

    Conclusion: Open your initial applicant pool to both men and women, and carefully select the best of the bunch. If it turns out that women are genuinely more suited to the very specific requirements of this mission, then there will naturally be more women in the final crew. But that isn't the point. The point is that, regardless of gender, we will end up with the best crew.

    1. Joefish

      Re: Women are smaller, and thus consume less

      It did also occur to me that the answer is then to select smaller men. That this logic escaped the author leads me to question the validity of other arguments.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Women are smaller, and thus consume less

        No logic escaped the author - she was drawing upon the conclusions of existing research. Why did you assume she wasn't? Other factors in women's favour include research into psychological suitability to be being cooped up with their peers for months on end.

      2. Purple-Stater

        Re: Women are smaller, and thus consume less

        The rationale for not selecting smaller men was explained; even at equal mass, men require more calories per day. And calorie-saving was the point of the entire article.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Women are smaller, and thus consume less

        The solution is to modify the men you send rather than consider the really wacky idea of including women? Your logic is the one at fault here.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Some logic to the discussion...

      "The point is that, regardless of gender, we will end up with the best crew."

      Is this the mission they don't come back from, or is that a different one? I'm just thinking that if it's a one way trip then we don't want to send the best people, and we should be looking for "second tier" applicants. And if it's the one way trip, this is going to be reality TV, so you want some eye candy, and people who will entertain.

      Or alternatively send a hand picked crew of Ched Evans, Oscar Pistorius, White Dee, and Shrien Dewani. That'd tick the boxes for any diversity survey, whilst being a collection of people many of the rest of us wouldn't miss.

  14. Bigpatc

    Looking the wrong way...

    Small women are the wrong choice here. You need some fat world of warcraft slobs. Content sitting motionless for 18 hours day and subsisting on the lowest quality nutrients you can buy, they carry their reserve calorie storage as part of the package. Bulky exercise equipment is not required. And as reproduction is not in their future, cosmic rays are not a big concern. Stock the ship with Mountain Dew and Cheetos and set it loose. You can even burn the excess methane for a little extra kick.

    Yep, I said it...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Looking the wrong way...

      Nope. What you need are proper Victorian Values - send up a few orphans!!

      Save even more weight and as for food food? How much does gruel weigh/cost to make anyway?

    2. Old Handle

      Re: Looking the wrong way...

      I do remember hearing it put forward that sending fat astronauts was actually the most logical choice. Basically what you do is put them on a diet after liftoff. The amount of food they're not eating during the mission more than makes up for their weight at the start because fat is a more efficient way to store energy than food.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Looking the wrong way...

        fat is a more efficient way to store energy than food

        Fat is food. We've been conducting a decades-long national experiment in the US to demonstrate that.

        There's nothing stopping NASA from providing astronauts with foodstuffs that have the same average caloric density as body fat. They also need to supply other nutrients, obviously, but they'd have to do so for the mooted fatstronauts too.

  15. Sparks

    The Mercury 13.

    'nuff said, really.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why send them to Mars? Aren't women supposed to be from Venus?

    1. Captain DaFt

      "Why send them to Mars? Aren't women supposed to be from Venus?"

      And now you've unveiled her cunning plan:

      Venus invading Mars using Earth as the intermediary!

  17. Bunbury

    Calories = work

    While a bulkier male will presumably use up more calories at rest, it's generally the case that calories are used to do things. It might be that the more macho males are doing all the physical tasks in the trial environment, and an all female crew would use up more calories.

    Besides, men will take in most calories as curry, and that has a low mass to calorie ratio.

    1. Midnight

      Re: Calories = work

      An interesting point, but I don't think that a mission to Mars will need enough jars opened or things taken off of high shelves to justify the added expense.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Calories = work

      Of course, thinking burns calories too.

      Just sayin' ...

      1. Jes.e

        Re: Calories = work

        The brain uses a very high percentage of one's energy expenditure.

        Approximately 20%

        Couple this with the interesting fact that women are smaller than men on average, so are their brains.

        They contain the same number of neurons, so women's brains are more efficient.

        Plus an all women crew would have a much better time communicating and thus getting along with each other.

        Just my two bits.

        1. MrDamage

          Women's brains are more efficient.

          Pick up any women's magazine that just about every male will agree is complete crap, and then tell me how efficient women's minds are if they can't recognise the same lack of value in said mag as men.

          1. Jeremy Puddleduck

            Re: Women's brains are more efficient.

            You have read some of the crap in Loaded, Nuts, GQ, Esquire, etc? There is always a % of the population that wants to look at shiny things, regardless of gender.

        2. JDX Gold badge

          Re: Calories = work

          20% isn't "a very high percentage". Although in a largely sedentary environment especially with weightless conditions, I'll grant the proportion might be higher.

        3. dickiecockburn

          Re: Calories = work

          Until the one day when they both show up in the same space suit and refuse to talk to each other for the remaining duration of the trip.

    3. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Calories = work

      If you weigh more, it takes more work to do the same motion. So you may have it backwards - men burn more calories because they tend to have heavier skeletal systems and more muscle mass.

    4. Montreal Sean

      Re: Calories = work

      Curry may have a low mass/calories ratio, but the methane might be a problem.

      Besides, beer kegs are heavy!

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who would deal with the spiders from mars?

    Or open jars for that matter.

    The comparison between metabolic activities was amusing. At first glance it sounded like the men did more work but there is insufficient detail to know the truth of it. What matters is how calorie effective the men were versus the women. If the men had a tendency towards more physically demanding jobs around the habitat might it then take more than 1 whole woman to replicate the same activities?

    For example, a crew of 4 males might require 6 females to match their physical work rate. That still might be more efficient and 6 heads instead of 4 brings with it greater redundancy and/or diversity in terms of knowledge and qualifications but the cost effectiveness is much reduced over simply replacing males on a like for like basis.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Who would deal with the spiders from mars?

      How much heavy lifting do you think will be involved in weightless space travel and low-weight conditions on Mars?

      And if you want to just say "men are better than women" stop beating round the bush and just say it.

      1. DropBear Silver badge

        Re: Who would deal with the spiders from mars?

        You seem to be confounding weight (or lack thereof) with mass. That doesn't go away in space, and F=m*a still holds. Same about torque - like, say, on a wrench. The original point may or may not have merit, but your rebuttal definitely does not.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Re: Who would deal with the spiders from mars?

          see repair of Hubble and all those power tools designed not to spin you in zero-G when you use them

        2. JDX Gold badge

          Re: You seem to be confounding weight (or lack thereof) with mass.

          Nope, you are confusing real life with GCSE level physics. When you carry something heavy from point A to B, the vast majority of the work done is not accelerating the mass, but fighting the gravitational force. In free-fall, moving a 20Kg sack of spuds involves a simple push at the start, let it float across and another push to stop it. About 2 seconds of physical activity, regardless of the distance. On earth, you have to trudge/drag/pull it the whole way. On Mars, the same but it's far easier.

          The wrench example is correct but considering the whole point of the wrench is to overcome physical weakness in humans in the first place, just making the handle 1 inch longer would overcome the issue!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Who would deal with the spiders from mars?


        If I had wanted to say men are better than women I would have. It isn't simply a matter of strength but of physical output and endurance. Kate Greene says the women on the test crew spent the same time exercising as the males but no detail is given as to how much physical work was actually done. The case against an all male crew is just as weak as it would be against an all female crew of 6 foot, athletic women. Everything else being equal you cannot expect a crew of smaller stature (male or female) to be able to achieve the same physical output without either taking more of them or having them work for longer, both of which would go a long way to undoing the benefits on food requirements.

        In particular, if a mission to Mars is aimed at being light weight will they be sending a car to get about the surface with, or expect the explorers to walk? In the latter circumstances physical fitness will play a key role in surviving and exploring. I expect there will be an arbitrary sweet spot of size and fitness decided by boffins and any candidates will be clustered around that.

        The article implies that an all women crew could halve the food requirements of the mission. This is unlikely unless everything over and above what those women were doing became automated - an argument which will trend towards the conclusion that it is better simply to keep sending robots.

      3. Infernoz Bronze badge

        Re: Who would deal with the spiders from mars?

        Muscle use in low and zero gravity will require better spacial coordination and momentum control of the same mass in three dimensions (see Enders Game) than in an Earth gravity environment, so a much smaller subset of the female population than the male population.

        If a female has to be just as strong as a male for a task, then they will need more muscle and expend more energy to carry and use the muscle because not all tasks can be done by multiple people, especially if space is constrained; it will be!

        The smaller body volume of a women thus smaller surface area will also be more vulnerable to external thermal changes, which could affect survival.

        It would seem better to have a mixed sex crew, to balance the benefits and disadvantages of each sex, and to allow for unknown hazards.

  19. Anomalous Cowshed

    Not wanting to knock women or men, but

    The lady who said (more or less) that most women on the mission had a calorie intake of less than 2000 versus more than 3000 for the men, did not say what the women were doing and what the men were doing.

    If they were all doing more or less the same thing on average, then the difference is significant. But if the women were sat watching videos and polishing their nails, while the men were spending most of their time on space walks and repairing extremely complex bits of kit requiring enormous concentration and tremendous dexterity, then this is merely lying with statistics, and the sexism is on the other side.

    1. Christine Munro

      Re: Not wanting to knock women or men, but

      I knew El Reg must serve some useful purpose, and that purpose is reminding me that I need to redo my toenails.

      I'm not sure if that's a good or a bad thing.

    2. Captain DaFt

      Re: Not wanting to knock women or men, but

      Ah, but if you read it, she was comparing the women who used the least calories against the men that used the most.

      A bit disingenuous, that. Should have compared the average calorie use, male/female.

      1. DropBear Silver badge

        Re: Not wanting to knock women or men, but

        Yeah, I noticed that immediately too, and it doesn't aid my confidence in those statistics at all. Also, I happen to think that if that specific difference is what makes your plan work, your plan is so marginal it's not even funny - you're preparing to fail...

  20. Flatpackhamster

    I think it's a perfectly rational solution.

    If it gets us to Mars faster, then I don't care who goes, or what colour they are. I'm also sufficiently grown up not to believe that I'm not 'represented' by the first humans on Mars just because none of them have cocks.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Testosterone may not help the trip

    I believe it lowers immunity and increases fuel burn. There are many things needed for a successful trip to Mars, a willy is perhaps not one of them.

    1. smylar

      Re: Testosterone may not help the trip

      Pretty sure there's some studies going on now about how higher testosterone levels may benefit in terms of less muscle wastage and bone demineralisation. Though I can't see how a group off confined men or women tanked up on it could end well

    2. Darryl

      Re: Testosterone may not help the trip

      Besides, if they're all women, there will be a huge reduction in the chance of them getting lost on the way to Mars, as they will have no aversion to stopping and asking for directions.

      1. Jes.e

        Re: Testosterone may not help the trip

        "Besides, if they're all women, there will be a huge reduction in the chance of them getting lost on the way to Mars, as they will have no aversion to stopping and asking for directions."

        Thanks for that!

        I'm lying in bed with a bad case of flu, and your comment resulted in a laughing/choking spasm that I thought was going do do me in as the buzzing in my ears/dark spots in vision/tingling in limbs engulfed me.


      2. Montreal Sean

        Re: Testosterone may not help the trip

        Women will ask for directions, but men can almost always find their way home even piss drunk.

        And when they can't, they usually end up pounding on the house next door. Saturn could be interesting to colonise...


  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rebecca got there first

    Check out the MILFs on Mars comic book

  23. Stevie Silver badge


    So what she's saying is "Mars Needs Midgets People Of Small Stature".

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: Bah!

      Now I'm humming along to "Hong Kong Garden"


    2. DropBear Silver badge

      Re: Bah!

      Drat. Are you telling me now we need to bin "Short people got no reason..." ?!? But I LIKED that song...!

  24. Graham Hawkins

    Also, it's a well proven fact the women are better at fighting Alien(s)

  25. MrXavia

    Fairly obvious...

    I think Mars One should consider having a 3 to 1 ratio of female to male in its 4 crew groupings, any other ratio could lead to problems long term....

  26. intrigid

    Arrogance of humans

    This obsession we have with trying to escape our blue ball is practically a mental illness. If we really do try to inhabit Mars, or any other part of outer space, we will very quickly be bitchslapped into submission.

    The rest of the universe is NOT a sustainable place for homo sapiens to live, and it never will be.

    1. Flatpackhamster

      Re: Arrogance of humans

      Contempt for humanity is the only mental illness I see on display here.

    2. JeffyPoooh Silver badge

      Re: Arrogance of humans

      intrigid mentioned "...escape our blue ball..."

      Blue Balls. Another reason to bring girls.

  27. Anonymous Coward

    And once again "El Reg" works ;)

    When I read the article I was amazed at the amount of dumb stereotyping going on. And well, then its really refreshing to see some of that reflected back into the comment section ;) At least to me, and yes; I'm a male too so that's probably it.

    I suggest we nominate Awesome Kong, otherwise also known under her WWE alias Kharma. I actually enjoyed her short stint in the WWE, it was new, it was bizarre and nothing like we've seen before. Unfortunately it was also cut way too short IMO.

    So why nominate Ms. Stevens? Well, someone's got to keep those Martians in check, and I think she'd be the perfect man, err, sorry: woman for the job!

  28. heyrick Silver badge

    "but they can’t know what they don’t know"

    I don't think gender, size, sexuality, or any other thing really addresses that. If you don't know something, you don't know something. As an individual or as a group.

    Unless, perhaps, you are called Donald Rumsfeld.

  29. DougS Silver badge

    North Koreans

    They're mostly tiny due to lack of childhood nutrition. Or midgets. Or midget North Koreans.

  30. chivo243 Silver badge

    She eats more than you think

    The missus is French, hasn't gained a pound since I met her, even after a child, but she eats as much as I do, plus bread. Always with the bread.

    I think maybe the metabolism of Astronaut types will be similar. So, what were we talking about again? Oh, right, only specific women qualify for astronauts, and have the same metabolism.

  31. John Deeb

    Orbital nag

    "Nag it from orbit. It's one of the many ways to make it less sure".

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What a load of crap

    What a load of crap; just as bad as an all-male astronaut corp would be an all-female one, as having disparate genders on a team is best for balance and perspective. In any case, if the egghead is going to condone misandry, then I condone gynecology: sending only gaggles of pre-menopausal women means more problems with volume vis-a-vis blood and feminine hygiene products... you might as well instead send only POST-menopausal women, because at least they don't have the monthly visitor to add to their concerns in space (it's hard enough to get rid of piss and shit in space, why add to the waste liquids?)

  33. unwarranted triumphalism

    Wasn't this the plot of an 'Archer' episode?

  34. ecofeco Silver badge

    Outstanding title!

    What a classic title!

    "Greene, the crew writer for one of NASA’s HI-SEAS (Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation)"

    Nice work if you can it.

  35. Fungus Bob Silver badge

    From the Naked Gun 33 1/3

    "I'd have given my eyeteeth for a hostage. Women make the best ones.They are smaller, easy to take along, eat less, smell nice."

    - Frank Drebin

  36. Martin Budden Bronze badge

    Won't someone think of the jockeys?

  37. John Savard Silver badge

    Never mind weight and food

    If we were going to send a small number of astronauts to Mars on a multi-year journey, there's an obvious anecdotal reason women would do better.

    A mixed crew could be torn apart by sexual jealousies.

    An all-male crew would be aggressive and irritable from doing without sex for so long.

    An all-female crew, on the other hand, would be glad to have a rest and get away from men annoying them all the time!

    But historically, women have stayed home minding the babies while men got to do the things that got glorified and remembered. Despite the great strides women have made towards equality of late, it's unclear that Mars will be allowed to contribute to balancing this past injustice. After all, the whole point of sending humans to Mars is to out-macho the Russians or the Chinese or the North Koreans,

    1. ultraharder

      Re: Never mind weight and food

      North Koreans? HAHAHAHA! Not 'till they join the South!

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So many sexist remarks

    From so many males who would never make the astronaut grade.

    Apollo was all male.

    Why not an all female Mars program?

    Women can be top-flight scientists and mission controllers too.

    Anon: Male

    1. Ole Juul

      Re: So many sexist remarks

      And at the expense of missing content.

      The article itself is garbage. Comparing the highest calorie use of one group against the lowest calorie use of another is nonsense. They should have compared low to low and high to high. At the very least they could have used averages.

    2. ultraharder

      Re: So many sexist remarks

      An all woman crew may work for reason given,

      but women and men have different modes of

      mentation. Both genders have their own kind

      of wisdom and folly. It would add a risk for the

      crews to be w/o one or the other, to correct it

      in an unforeseen emergency.

  39. ShooPooMagoo

    Can't be right

    Well, if it's supposed to an all women crew, shouldn't they be going to Venus instead? Or did I miss the last meeting?

  40. Version 1.0 Silver badge


    Let's compromise and send a transgender crew.

    1. Marketing Hack Silver badge

      Re: Transgender?

      When they return they can write their memoir--"The Fabulous Voyage"

  41. Adam 1 Silver badge

    We know where the savings really are. At least they won't ask for a raise, right Nadella?

  42. gnorville

    Just plan on sending twice as much bathroom tissue.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Missed the most crucial point

    Sure, it'll save weight and all that.

    However, there's no ignoring the fact that they will simply get lost on the journey. And that they will be late leaving as they were "getting ready".

    And who knows what'll happen when they try to park the thing?!

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Missed the most crucial point

      Yeah, isn't casual sexism funny.

  44. The Grump

    Without a man onboard...

    who will hold the door open for them ? Who will open those oversized jars of pickles ? If we are not careful, we could end up with an entire crew of women, dead of starvation in a spaceship filled with oversized pickle jars. Oh, the humanity !

  45. avlisk

    Hey, NASA. Just FLY FASTER!

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Serious question

    Did they test the female caloric intake during their menstruation cycle?

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Serious question

      Why do you think femonauts would be permitted to menstruate while in space? It seems foolish to have to ship sanitary products so I very much think they'd be forced to be on the pill (or similar).

  47. Colin Ritchie

    Facebook's take on it.

    "Houston, we have a problem."


    "Never Mind."

    "What's the problem?"


    "Please tell us."

    "I'm fine."

  48. ultraharder

    Everyone is thinking in a box about mass limitations of the rocket!

    Gerald Bull's supergun invention would make it much cheaper to

    put spacecraft parts and supplies in orbit to assemble, fuel, supply

    and otherwise scale up Mars missions. Anything that can withstand

    extreme acceleration could be put in orbit much more cheaply with

    a giant, powder-loaded cannon. With one or more at a US desert

    test range, it would no longer be cost prohibitive to scale up Mars

    missions to increase probability of success. Example: supergun

    shells could carry bundles of dovetailed, heavy shielding to fit over

    the crew capsule, to protect crews from ionizing radiation, space

    junk and rocks. Several other kinds of "Verne guns" are in planning

    stages, privately. Gas, rail and coil should all be built too. They all

    could reduce mass-launch cost to a small fraction of rocket's but

    powder-loaded cannons are the most mature technology among

    them. Bull's main challenge was that the "Baby Babylon"s metal

    wore out too fast. If he had space shuttle type ceramic to line the

    barrel, it could have a long service life.

    It is sole reliance on rockets to put mass in orbit that limits scale,

    capabilities and safety of interplanetary missions so drastically.

    Of all other launch systems in development at some level, space

    guns, especially the powder loaded kind, offer the cheapest,

    shortest route to greatly reduce launch cost per mass unit.

    A supergun like Gerald Bull's, with a space shuttle type ceramic

    lining, could be built in a couple of years at a small fraction of

    a rocket program's cost. The world is poorer for not having it.

  49. Dom 3

    The precedents.

    Yuri Gagarin was 5 feet 2 inches tall (that's 157cm) and weighed 153 pounds (69kg). From:

    Most of the early astronauts were quite short.

    On the other hand when they started doing space walks they discovered that a very high level of physical fitness and strength was required. Basically (until they come up with a redesign of the suits) a pressure suit is a big balloon and doing anything in it requires bending the balloon out of shape - it's hard work.

    So, errr, women to stay in the cave, I mean Martian lander, and look after it, and men to go out hunting for food, I mean rocks.

  50. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Whoever suggested this has obviously never watched sci-fi movies....

    Every movie fan knows that women in space are a problem. Whenever you find a slimy, tentacled extraterrestrial, the woman always runs away (slowly) and trips over some perfectly avoidable rock or rut in the ground. Then the men have to go back and rescue her, which invariably ends with the funniest guy getting eaten. This is a problem for me, because I am usually the funniest guy in the group. The good news is that the surviving guy and the woman usually find true love, I guess after being bonded by their near-death experience.

    Or there are the spacewomen who are just plain snakebit, and wherever they go some terrible acid-blooded, chest-bursting-embryo-implanting alien nightmare shows up and starts killing everyone...

    Thanks, but I'll go on the "stags in space" mission!!

  51. Jonathan 27 Bronze badge

    I can see the point, but if we're doing this we need to go whole-hog and limit it to women who are under 100lbs and under 5' tall. Maybe only take women with slow metabolisms too. I'm sure they can find some qualified applicants... maybe. If the cost difference is really high they're going to have to cut costs sometime.

  52. TooMad

    Limiting it to material costs only then men of smaller stature are superior. Same caloric requirements while needing fewer absorbent materials. You can trade blows all day long about superior/inferior emotional states and gender exclusive medical emergencies. That probably means they're equal and just brings you right back to materials.

  53. Clive Harris

    "Ministering Angels"

    I'm reminded of a short story by C.S.Lewis I read many years ago, "Ministering Angels". Very different from his normal, somewhat pious, material, it describes an all-male expedition to explore Mars. After they've been out for a couple of years, a committee back home becomes concerned about what they regard as their "unhealthy" all-male environment. Without consulting the expedition members, they decide to send out a space ship full of female volunteers to "cheer them up". The consequences are predictably disastrous and very funny.

    The committee failed to consider two important things: the sort of men who would go on such an expedition, and the sort of women who would volunteer to fly out to "comfort" them.

    The men, obviously, have all decided they can manage without female company, or think they can. For example, there is the biologist who is training to be a monk. He's testing whether he can tolerate a life of solitude and celibacy before making his final vows. There is a gay couple of scientists who only have eyes for each other. The expedition commander just wants to get away from his wife for a while. He's been promised a bonus and early retirement when he gets home.

    As for the women. In the end there were only two volunteers. A rather ugly sociology professor who wants to make her name with a long-term study of human sexuality, and a very fat retired prostitute who wants to supplement her pension.

    By the end of the story, several of the man have stolen the space ship and are flying straight home. The story finishes with the "monk" locked in his room, besieged by the retired prostitute who wants to "make a confession", praying for divine intervention.

  54. ProfessorLarry

    Small is beautiful

    It's all about mass and metabolism. Astronauts on extended missions and Mars colonists should be short people. Put an upper limit of 150-160cm and 50-55kg to qualify and the savings in supplies, fuel, equipment, and construction would be enormous. The savings cascade, because smaller people will need smaller bunks, smaller suits, etc., as well as consuming less calories and oxygen.

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