It’s been over 50 years since Russia sent the first woman into space, and 40 years since NASA hired its first female astronaut. Yet the biggest moments in astronautical history – namely, stepping foot on the moon – have been reserved for – shock, horror – men.
But, a headline that went viral on Twitter this week (the original story reportedly broke last year) revealed that NASA had gotten “the future is female” memo – and simultaneously forgotten that lesbians and bisexuals exist. The story claimed that the next American Mars mission would send out an all-women crack-squad of astronauts “to avoid them having sex on the one and a half year journey”. Ha.
Let’s unpack that a little. Firstly, we’ve got to acknowledge that anything “all female” is a pretty blatant erasure of non-binary people. Secondly, the rush to take over and pillage land that doesn’t belong you is a classic imperial move, so we shouldn’t be surprised that NASA strategy isn’t exactly progressive.
In the face of a particularly brutal dating landscape, the Mars shuttle could become a (very long and arduous) path to true love!
But, now we’ve got that out in the open, let’s get to the bottom of this whole “to avoid them having sex” thing. If you need a bit of clarification as to what on Earth they're thinking, let me clear this up. The ban on hetero sex probably stems from the fact that if both men and women were locked in a spaceship together, they’d naturally end up having sex, obviously leading to pregnancy and excess weight in the aircraft.
You don’t need a PhD in Gender Studies to see that this premise assumes that a) everyone is heterosexual b) most people are fertile and c) that asexuality doesn’t exist. However, what it (oddly) doesn’t presume is that everyone knows it’s more than a tad unprofessional to sleep with your colleagues while on the clock.
When you pick it apart, it’s pretty laughable news for just about everyone. However, those who have really gotten a kick out of it are lesbian and bi women. Seemingly, thanks to NASA’s bizarre vision of compulsory heterosexuality, queer women would be able to sneak on to the space mission and get something of a free pass for trying it on with their co-workers. I mean, gross impropriety aside, it’s all just a bit of fun in the stratosphere.
Thanks to a general scarcity of LGBTQ+ people and hetero couples’ dogged quest to find threesome partners, dating apps are notoriously rubbish when it comes to women looking for women. In the face of a particularly brutal dating landscape, the Mars shuttle could become a (very long and arduous) path to true love! Who knows, maybe the numbers of LGBTQ+ women applying for the space programme will soar? I, for one, despite my moral reservations and lack of American citizenship, am definitely considering applying.