Engineers at NASA may be intelligent enough to create spacecraft and state-of-the-art equipment but they still couldn't figure women out.
The American space agency selected its first all-female astronaut class in 1978 comprised of six members, namely Shannon Lucid, Margaret Rhea Seddon, Kathryn Sullivan, Judith Resnik, Anna Fisher, and Sally Ride.
Ride became the first American woman in space; Resnik, the first Jewish-American astronaut; Sullivan, the first American woman to perform a spacewalk; and Lucid, the first American woman to visit Russia's Mir space station.
The First Makeup Kit For Spaceflights
Last Tuesday, NASA's History Office revealed that as these female astronauts set out for spaceflight, engineers incorrectly assumed they would still want to wear makeup even when in space and therefore, created a makeup kit.
The prototype kit features compartments for eyeliner, mascara, eyeshadow, eye makeup remover, blush, and lipstick. It is the first of its kind to be designed particularly for space.
"You can just imagine the discussions amongst the predominantly male engineers about what should go in that makeup kit," says Ride.
Apparently, Ride was constantly asked about which cosmetic products she brought to space after her famous 1983 mission on the Challenger.
Each astronaut, however, has a personal hygiene kit always, as part of a standard spaceflight equipment. This kit includes basic toiletries such as soap, lotion, deodorant, comb, razor, toothbrush, toothpaste, and a rinseless shampoo that was first developed for bedridden hospital patients.
Obviously, NASA does not restrict the use of makeup among its female astronauts. Dermatologists, however, advise against it for prolonged periods of flying.
Changes in air pressure combined with the lack of moisture would lead to acne. The spacecraft's environment will likewise dry skin out, causing it to get flaky and dull.
All-Female Mission To Mars
Following the 1978 class, NASA inducted another all-female corps in 2016. This time, the group is slated to launch for what is perhaps the most anticipated mission as of late: the expedition to Mars. The new class is composed of only four members, namely Nicole Aunapu Mann, Anne McClain, Jessica Meir, and Christina Hammock Koch.
Unlike in earlier missions fueled by the race to the moon, these female astronauts will all play pivotal roles. Their tasks would include developing rockets and space suits, as well as manning remote rovers that would explore the red planet's terrain.
"If we go to Mars, we'll be representing our entire species in a place we've never been before. To me, that is the highest thing a human being can achieve," says McClain in a report.
The mission is still more than a decade away but it is anticipated by governments across the world. China, Europe, and Russia already have plans to land robots on Mars, while American companies such as SpaceX are collaborating with NASA for commercial trips.