The Martian - In Your Face, Neil Armstrong

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Kahani:

Actually, that's one of the few parts of his weird ranting that has some basis in reality. It comes down to simple biology - women have periods and can get pregnant, and those add all kinds of hygiene and medical complications into the mix. Reliance on drugs to control menstruation is a problem (what if their shelf life isn't long enough, or they get lost or damaged, what about the extra weight required to carry them, the possible interactions with other medical interventions, the effects on physiology, and so on), and anything other than eliminating them completely adds more complication to the already pretty tricky hygiene arrangements and yet more weight needed for supplies.

Actually it's less of a problem as one would imagine.
Considering we are talking about a 8 year trip into space. The only logical solution is to freeze egg cells and sperm from the astronauts. Because no matter how hyper advanced your radiation shielding is you won't want to risk 8 years off space travel without a back-up plan.

Oh and stopping menstruations and fertility could be done for 8 years with a weight of something like 50gramm per female. There is this implant that has a shelf life of 5 years before it must be used, it lasts for 3 years. It utterly stops menstruation and fertility. All you need is someone who can stuff a giant ass needle in your arm and a bandage for 2-3 days. And if you send people out for 8 years I think they'll have someone with medical experience on-board.
So administer before take off, have two fresh spares. problem solved.

So shelf life is long enough, the weight is minimal (it's a big syringe with a 2-3gramm implant), even if you take a couple of spares. once in body your biggest problem is getting them out...

And if it was such a problem then tell me why was Samantha Cristoforetti able to spend 199 days on the ISS?

Flatfrog:
Obviously these things are all technically true, but to describe them as major logistical issues is still pretty sexist.

No it isn't. Sexism, and bigotry in general, means treating people differently when there is no reason to do so. When in a situation where biological differences are important, noting what those differences are and what the consequences might be is not in any way sexist.

Firstly, a woman choosing to travel to Mars could easily have an IUD fitted to prevent pregnancy

Which is a medical device with a chance of complications and failure. That's the entire point - it's not that women can't go to space, it's simply that the biological differences mean there are greater risks. A man cannot get pregnant, end of story. A woman can, and the ways to prevent that are all imperfect and carry increased risk. I'm certainly not the one who decides whether the risks are small enough or not (although personally I don't think we're anywhere near the point where it would be sane to send anyone to Mars at all), but that doesn't mean the risk can just be ignored. If we ever actually have a manned Mars mission, these issues and their potential will have been considered at great length, they will certainly not have been dismissed out of hand because some people get upset that all people aren't identical in every way.

and menstruation is by no means the hygienic nightmare you seem to be suggesting (guess what - men bleed occasionally too).

Bleeding occasionally as the result of an accident is a very different matter from doing so regularly, especially when that bleeding is merely the most obvious sign of a much more complex biological procedure, while a cut is just a cut. And menstruation absolutely is a hygienic nightmare, because absolutely anything involving bodily fluids is a hygienic nightmare, especially when you're dealing with a very small, self-contained system in which any minor problem can result in everyone dying. Astronauts already need all kinds of complicated systems and procedures to deal with waste disposal and hygiene. Menstruation adds extra complication to that, and that's all that's needed for it to be a problem that needs solving.

If you wanted to prevent menstruation too, we already have an effective one-year implant that prevents menstruation and pregnancy with close to 100% effectiveness, so it's hard to imagine we couldn't get that to work for the whole length of a Mars mission.

Except that we haven't done so so far, despite having one that worked longer being useful in plenty of ways that don't require going to Mars. And again, drugs have potential interactions and side-effects, and the pill and implants have plenty of very well known ones.

If by some chance an astronaut did become pregnant despite all these available precautions, abortion isn't exactly a high-risk procedure either.

But it is a risk, and again that's all that matters. There is one extremely easy way to reduce that risk to zero, and various other ways that don't reduce the risk to zero. Maybe we'll find other ways that do, or decide that a lesser reduction is enough, but the risk is there and it needs to be considered.

So all these arguments are really a bit ridiculous. They smack of all the ad-hoc arguments that used to be used to say women shouldn't be soldiers, or business leaders, or scientists.

They are not in any way ridiculous, and whining about sexism isn't going to change that. You admit yourself that there are risks, and that is all that matters. Space travel is a risky business, and the people involved in it go to huge lengths to reduce that risk as much as possible. If all-male expeditions can eliminate enough risk to make the PR fallout of "Wah! Sexism!" worthwhile, then that's what will happen. If you actually read all of my last post, you'll notice that I specifically said there's no problem enjoying the film since you can just assume these problems have been solved. But that doesn't mean it makes sense to pretend there wasn't a problem that needed solving in the first place.

sanamia:
And if it was such a problem then tell me why was Samantha Cristoforetti able to spend 199 days on the ISS?

199 days a couple of hours from Earth is a very different proposition from 4 years with no possibility of rescue. A risk that's perfectly acceptable when you're hours away from medical help is not necessarily acceptable when there is no help to be had.

Sorry but now you're just trying to be unreasonable. If menstruation was such a hygienic nightmare (it's not) then what do you do when people need to poop? honestly that's way worse just imagine all that shit flying around! Oh wait it doesn't...

Facts are you can utterly stop menstruations, but we can't stop people from pooping. The "risks" are non existent, if thousands of woman can do with implants then a couple of properly vetted astronauts surely can.

Then again you very likely have "older" people for such a mission like 35 and up. add in 8 years of space and I doubt you would even have one woman who doesn't just get her tubes cut before the mission. Which even with young females would be easy to do as again just freeze the eggs. heck sterilize the men too, not like they can't just freeze sperm... so pregnancy risk is zero.

risks there are always risks, imagine a male could get testicular torsion, testicle cancer, whatnot. Now we could reduce that risk by removing testicles before launch... doubt they like that though, an implant is soo much less risk.

Kahani:
it's not that women can't go to space, it's simply that the biological differences mean there are greater risks

No, I'm still not going to accept this and I still claim these arguments are ad hoc.

I don't deny that menstruation and pregnancy constitute small risks. But I am going to deny absolutely that those kinds of small risk factors would outweigh any of the other myriad factors that affect the decision of who would be the best choice for a Mars mission.

If we simply go by gender factors alone, there could easily be other factors that affect men statistically more than women that might be enough to change the balance. Men are statistically more prone to violence, which might be a significant issue on a long-term mission.

But far more importantly, there are hundreds of other criteria that would be used to choose one candidate over another. Whether they might have an incredibly small chance of experiencing complications from a hormonal implant or IUD is surely infinitessimally important compared to their many other skills.

You can deny it as much as you like, but to claim women are intrinsically less suitable for a job is a sexist position. You might as well be saying they can't be astronauts because they have cooties.

Kahani:
it's not that women can't go to space, it's simply that the biological differences mean there are greater risks

Stop right there! because that can be turned around.

half an hour of digging through medical stuff... "Journal of Men's Health and Gender. Vol 1. No.4 pp 341-344. Dec. 2004."
Women have a considerable advantage because of endothelial protection, provided by estrogen, greater uptake of Mg in progressively diminishing storage sites in skeletal muscle and bone, and a physiological loss of iron, which is conducive to oxidative stress.

Basically it's all about menstruation is a good thing in space because iron levels. Sure we could also tap some blood every couple of weeks... Men still lack the estrogen levels to avoid things like the Apollo 15 sickness though.
Downside: during menstruation spacewalks can be troublesome.

Saw it on Sunday overall I liked it except for the part near the end where everyone around the whole world was waiting for him to be rescued. Not only was it really hammy but it feels like i have seen that scene in another film.

Flatfrog:

Kahani:
it's not that women can't go to space, it's simply that the biological differences mean there are greater risks

Men are statistically more prone to violence, which might be a significant issue on a long-term mission.

Yeah, male astronauts and scientists just can not stop beating women.

Come on anon. I understand you're probably a space enthusiast, but try and come back down to earth.

Oh, and while I'm here, this movie is the most predictable, boring, bland piece of generic boring I've ever seen. It's the definition of 'let's all just phone it in so we can get paid'. There was nothing technically bad with it (well, poor cinematography and an absolutely ABYSSAL soundtrack - so bad that the soundtrack being terrible is a prominent plot point.)

But hey, at least this time Ridley Scott kept the space weed to a minimum. So you know, he's improving. Maybe one day he'll be a real director again. But I'd rather he just retired and stopped destroying franchises I care about.

First thing, do not call The Martian hard science fiction. There is more hard science about space in this thread than in the movie. Seriously, I can do without reading posts online about whether or not menstruation would be a problem in outer space. I kind of agree that pregnancies would be difficult away from Earth. However, just imagine how cute the babies would look in a space suit.

image

This movie should be called "The Blogger From Outer Space". Matt Damon's character video blog, text, and even pose for a selfie. Next challenge for selfie-lovers, do "The Fonz". This movie borders on being too silly for it's own good. However, it has enough acting talent on screen to sell the seriousness of the situation. Fortunately, I was looking for a fun movie that I could check my brain at the door for a couple of hours. The Martian fits that bill.

This movie is about as hard science as Star Wars. Seriously, the actors walk across the surface of Mars like it's a desert on Earth. How can anyone think this movie is close to scientifically accurate? It actually has the line, "They want me to fly a convertible into space."

The one message I hope people do take out of the movie is the importance of critical thinking and problem solving. I see too many people seems to prefer to let other people do their thinking for them and give up when nobody hands them the solution to their problems.

Kahani:
...and the only people likely to see it as a problem are the sorts who also get upset because NASA was portrayed as employing some of those dirty coloured people.

Moreso that the film had a blatant agenda and was pushing it very hard, along with the bad soundtrack, characters, bland cinematography, and awful dialogue.

The film offended me mostly because it is trying hard to pontificate whilst being a very generic, phoned-in, lowest common denominator piece of schlock. A film which is actually good can push any agenda it wants, and I won't complain.

Kahani:

Actually, that's one of the few parts of his weird ranting that has some basis in reality. It comes down to simple biology - women have periods and can get pregnant, and those add all kinds of hygiene and medical complications into the mix. Reliance on drugs to control menstruation is a problem (what if their shelf life isn't long enough, or they get lost or damaged, what about the extra weight required to carry them, the possible interactions with other medical interventions, the effects on physiology, and so on), and anything other than eliminating them completely adds more complication to the already pretty tricky hygiene arrangements and yet more weight needed for supplies. And while you might hope the chance of anyone getting pregnant would be very low, expecting people not to be people on multi-year expeditions would be somewhat optimistic. And no matter how you try to prevent it, the consequences are so huge that even a tiny risk could be unacceptable. Of course, that issue could be prevented just as easily by an all-female expedition, so it's more an argument in favour of single gender rather than men specifically.

An inter-uterine device for contraception solves literally all of those problems. They last for a 5years. They completely stop menstruation. No need for tampons or boxes of the pill. They have almost no systematic side effects as they are a device pumping tiny amount of hormone in the uterus rather than hormones having to go orally to blood to uterus.

So no pregnant astronauts. No other problems. Same for complaints against women in military roles, science has literally solved these problems.

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