Quote:The calorie requirements of an astronaut matter significantly when planning a mission. The more food a person needs to maintain her weight on a long space journey, the more food should launch with her. The more food launched, the heavier the payload. The heavier the payload, the more fuel required to blast it into orbit and beyond. The more fuel required, the heavier the rocket becomes, which it in turn requires more fuel to launch.
Every pound counts on the way to space. NASA was keenly aware of this, and that’s why in the early 1960s it nearly considered a female astronaut corps.
In the early 2000s, Alan Drysdale, a systems analyst in advanced life support and a contractor with NASA, was thinking about the problem of astronaut bodies. He turned to a NASA document on physiological metrics called STD-3000, Man-Systems Integration Standards (now revised to STD-3001), which details needs and effluents for a range of body types. The STD-3000 gave the stats for women whose size was in the fifth percentile to men sized in the 95th percentile, a range from about 4-foot-11 and 90 pounds to 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds. He crunched the numbers.
Drysdale found that a fifth-percentile woman would use less than half the resources of a 95th-percentile man. While we didn’t have a woman on the HI-SEAS crew who was in the fifth percentile, our stats were similar to the predictions.
Drysdale, who no longer works with NASA, is emphatic that the space agency wastes money and doesn’t consider cost-saving approaches like a Mars crew of smaller astronauts. He says his calculations suggest all things being equal, such a crew would launch for half the payload cost. “Small women haven’t been demonstrated to be appreciably dumber than big women or big men, so there’s no reason to choose larger people for a flight crew when it’s brain power you want,” says Drysdale. “The logical thing to do is to fly small women.”
Read the whole thing here > http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and...ingle.html