For only the second time in the 16-year history of the International Space Station, there are two women on the six-person crew up there. This rarity has sparked some inappropriate, sexist questions of the women, which they have answered with perfect defensive poise.
"I have a question for you ― why don't you ask the question about Alexander's hair, for example," said female Russian Cosmonaut Elena Serova, (pictured at top) to a reporter in September, when asked how she would fix her hair during her ISS stay, and whether she was taking makeup for the trip. Alexander (Samokutyaev) is her fellow crew member, and a male. "I'm sorry, this is my answer. Thank you. More questions?"
U.S. Astronaut Sally Ride (AP Photo)
For those of us old enough to remember back to 1983, the first American female Astronaut, Sally Ride fielded similar questions. She was asked, "Will the flight affect your reproductive organs?" and "Do you weep when things go wrong of the job?" Ride replied to these questions by saying, "You notice I'm not answering. It may be too bad that our society isn't further along and that this is such a big deal." Ride had Bachelors Degrees in English and Physics, as well as a Ph.D. in astrophysics, yet these kind of questions were all that some journalists could think to ask.
Italy's Samantha Cristoforetti will join Russia's Surova on the ISS on Monday. (AP Image)
NASA recently published a study on the different ways that Space effects the bodies of men and women, with fascinating results.
Among other results, the study found that women suffer from less hearing loss and visual impairment than their male counterparts. In addition, women are more susceptible to urinary tract infections, while men are more likely to develop kidney stones.
The previous occasion with two women crew members on the ISS was in 2010, when both women were Americans. Russia's Serova (37) was joined in space on Monday morning by Italy's Samantha Cristoforetti (38), who is Italy's first female Astronaut, and also a fighter pilot. She will serve as Flight Engineer for Expeditions 42 and 43, until next May. Cristoforetti's launch was Sunday afternoon from Kazakhstan, along with American astronaut Terry Virts and Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov. Along with being Italy's first female Astronaut, she is also bringing along the ISS' first espresso machine.
Top image - Russian Astronaut Elena Surova (AP Images)
Paul Thompson is a aviation journalist with over 13 years of experience working in the airline industry, who maintains the website Flight Club for Jalopnik.com. You can contact Paul to submit story ideas, your own "Plane Porn" photos, and comments regarding this or any other aviation topic via email at Paul@Jalopnik.com