When the Shenzhou-9 spacecraft launches from the Gobi Desert on Saturday, carrying China’s first female astronaut into space, she will smell great. That’s because China has strangely specific requirements of the women it sends into space.
China’s space program is still relatively young, but very ambitious. China is building a space station set to be complete by 2020 and a manned moon mission is planned for later that decade. Its astronauts — known as taikonauts — are national heroes. But a woman can’t, apparently, become a taikonaut unless she is married and has given birth naturally. This is to make sure her “body and mental condition was mature enough” or something.
Additionally, she can’t have any scars because they might reopen and bleed in space , she must have perfect teeth and she can’t stink up the cramped spacecraft with her disgusting body odour.
These were, of course, never requirements for the men, who can be stinky pirates with peg-legs and rotting teeth and still get the stamp of approval on aesthetic grounds.
Globe and MailNASA