Christina Koch and Jessica Meir (the first Swedish woman in space) did it, after five decades of spacewalking it finally happened. And as Tracy Caldwell Dyson, another NASA astronaut, said: “This is significant … As much as it’s worth celebrating, many of us are looking forward to it just being normal.” Previously, 14 women and 213 men have carried out spacewalks.
Apparently the historical walk almost got cancelled because they only had one medium space suit. ”Make another suit” Hillary Clinton tweeted. And NASA did prepare another suit and Koch and Meir made history on Friday when they ventured outside the International Space Station for a five-and-a-half hour mission to replace a power controller.
If you think about living in space for some months you realize there are many challenges. Laundry is one. NASA is looking for solutions that can extend wear-time in space, and we were actually asked to contribute with evidence of the functionality of Pure Effect mists. That was a proud moment 🙂
There is not much research on female bodies in space. Now researchers are collecting biomedical data on the impact of spaceflight on Koch’s body. There is evidence that there are sex differences in responses to a space environment. And from the ground we know for example that men and women have different sweat patterns – men sweat more than women and on different parts of the body. The astronauts wear cooling and ventilation garment on a spacewalk, to maintain their body temperature at a safe level. But it was all designed for male bodies, after five decades of space walking. Time for a change, right?
The Guardian reports: “On Tuesday, Nasa unveiled the prototype for a new spacesuit that could be worn by the next crew, expected to include a woman, to land on the moon. The suit is designed to give a customised fit to the individual astronaut, whatever their shape or size.
In times of big challenges on Earth – war, hunger and climate changes – some might think of space research as a luxury. But if you ask me space is part of the solution. This research is one of the most important ways to push our minds and lives to the future sustainable solutions. Looking at the Earth from space gives us some key perspectives. Keep up the great work you do, NASA.
/by Linda Rosendahl Nordin