The Future of Space Travel Depends on Varsha Jain, Space Gynecologist


Image: MOTHERBOARD
Image: MOTHERBOARD
She helps female astronauts deal with life in space, including what to do about their periods.

By Kate Lunau | MOTHERBOARD

NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, who’s on the International Space Station right now, spent 377 days total in space prior to this mission—the most of any US woman. It’s a huge achievement. The reality is that very few women have done a long duration space mission (or flown into space at all). Of the 500-plus people who’ve flown into space since the dawn of manned space travel, in 1961, only about 11 percent have been women.

Dr. Varsha Jain is working to change that. She’s probably the rarest kind of doctor in the world: a „space gynecologist“ who specializes in understanding how women’s bodies respond to living in space, including what happens when you have your period in zero-G, and what astronauts who want to skip their periods can do to suppress it.

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