Monday, April 11, 2011

All Female Crew


The idea for an all-female complement to the Mars500 just happened to arise on St. Patrick's Day, though we were all sober, I assure you. On Facebook, the Mars500 press team and other supporters came together as, in one rep's words, "... a form of psychological support for the Mars500 crew, where we demonstrate that our brave ladies are ready and able to do the same [type of simulation]."

So we have beamed a little photo-shopped gift into the Mars500 module!

Mars 500 AFSC
Click to embiggen and see all originals!
And hey, that's me on the left ;)

We had a great many brilliant women in the running for the Mars500 AFSC (All Female Symbolic Crew), so we made it clear from the beginning we wouldn't be pin-up girls. Promotion and support? Yes, we all work in the space industry in one capacity or another. Participation? We sure would qualify! And as our head researcher points out, "We're not going to be dollies here -- I'd very much like to get into space some day, and not just as the token woman."

Mars500AFSC Twitter Feed
Many of us follow the Mars500 research closely, after having gone through astronaut training, and also done Astro-NOT simulations. So here is our "congratulatory" project from us to the Mars500 crew as they reach various milestones! Today is Day 313, and after landing on Mars, they are now on their way back to Earth.

These men have given up 520 days of their lives for their trip to the red planet... with no wives, no friends, no sunlight, and only the food they took with them! That is a pretty stunning sacrifice for science. And we also happened to notice they had some free wall space where they might put our posters! They can take their pick of many variations done by talented graphic artist Steve Légère. Thanks for the great work, Steve!

Mars500 Module
How did we know they had wall space? See the panoramic-RU site for an amazing 360-degree view of the Mars500 capsule! The tour is clickable, moveable, scrollable... and watch for the red arrows, to move from room to room. Truly the best floor-to-ceiling view of the spaceship I've yet seen!

But anyway, my fellow crew-women are:
Soyeon Yi - Daejeon, South Korea - Mission Commander
Daria Shapovalova - Moscow, Russia - Pilot
Stefania Ligas - Verona, Italy - Medical Officer
Kate Arkless Gray - London, England - Head Researcher
Misuzu Onuki - Tokyo, Japan - Communications Officer
Heather Archuletta - San Francisco, USA - Chief Engineer

Mars500 AFSC Magazine
Our true veteran astronaut is Soyeon Yi of the Korea Aerospace Research Institute, the second Asian woman in space! So, of course, she was unanimously elected Commander of the mission. Stefania? A lifelong space enthusiast, and a teacher in the city of Romeo & Juliet! Daria works at the International Space University. Kate is the famous @SpaceKate, broadcast journalist who came across the pond for the STS-133 launch and never went home! Ex-JAXA Misuzu is also now the Asia liaison of the Space Frontier Foundation.

Quite accomplished international company. We join hands in cyberspace to salute the Mars500!