Science & Technology

Nothing strange about women in space: Europe’s only female astronaut

By Laura Zornoza

Strasbourg, France, Mar 16 (EFE).- Europe’s only active female astronaut said she is hesitant to give specific advice to young girls looking to become extraterrestrial explorers because “there is nothing strange about having women in space.”

Samantha Cristoforetti, a European Space Agency astronaut, joined Efe for an interview in Strasbourg, where she was taking part in a ceremony at the European Parliament for Women’s Day.

“I am a little bit hesitant with these recommendations to young girls because to me it makes it sound like girls need special advice, or they have special burdens or special difficulties,” said Cristoforetti, who is the first woman in history to take command of the International Space Station.

“I think that for both boys and girls if they are interested in space then the path is always the same,” Cristoforetti added.

“There is nothing strange about having women in space.”

Cristoforetti’s last trip into space to develop the Minerva mission, between April and October 2022, saw her work with Russian cosmonauts on the ISS just two months after Moscow launched its full-blown invasion of Ukraine.

“It was definitely sometimes a bit of an elephant in the room, the fact that there was this dramatic conflict going on on the surface of the planet,” the Italian astronaut said.

“But we had a mission to accomplish together and, we also had on a personal level, a strong bond of friendship among us, so I think we were able to focus not on the things that would become a source of conflict onboard as well but rather to focus on our mission and our shared objectives, shared values and continue to work successfully together.”

Cristoforetti turned her focus to ongoing and future missions to Mars.

“Our robotic friends are already exploring Mars and we will have a European rover in the near future as well and, who knows, maybe in the future even human explorers,” Cristoforetti added.

The European astronaut has amassed hundreds of thousands of views and likes on her social media accounts where she shares videos on life in space, explaining how to use a toilet, how to call home and what it is like to have your period whilst in orbit, which, according to Cristoforetti, is the same as having it on Earth.

Over a million people online know her as @AstroSamantha and her Tik Tok profile proudly describes her as a “European Space Agency Astronaut boldly going where no Tiktoker has gone before.”EFE


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