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Women and Mars (media coverage)

November 15, 2011

At least three Women in Planetary Science bloggers attended the Women and Mars Conference last week in Washington, D.C.  I was invited to speak on the first panel, and it was a very interesting one.

Dr. Colleen Hartman, Assistant Associate Administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, moderated the panel, asking us questions about our own background as well as planetary science at large.  Linda Billings from George Washington University contributed statistics on recent Mars missions, noting the gender distribution in various areas.  Cassie Conley, NASA SMD’s Planetary Protection Officer, spoke about planetary protection and its importance for future Mars missions.  Tiffany Montague from Google showed Google’s contributions to providing access to space exploration achievements in innovative ways.  I spoke about the current situation for women in planetary science in particular, calling out several issues and providing some recent statistics that I’d be happy to share with you if there is interest.

Media coverage of the conference was overshadowed by NASA’s announcement of MSL’s launch readiness, but the Agency French Presse did put out an article that was picked up by newspapers and media outlets around the globe, including Cosmos Magazine, France 24, The Times of India, Daily Mail (UK), Hindustan Times, Sri Lanka Daily News, and Emirates 24/7.  Here’s a link to one appearance of the article, published on the web site for Cosmos Magazine.

Did you watch any of the conference in person or (now archived) on Livestream?  What intrigued you, or made you curious to learn more?

6 Comments leave one →
  1. November 21, 2011 11:29 am

    Exactly, Erin! Oh, and I should mention that the logo for this conference comes from a woman-designed spacesuit that more tightly fits the body. Cady Coleman advocated for such a suit during her talk, expressing several times how difficult it was to move inside the giant suits.

  2. November 20, 2011 5:21 pm

    I actually watched the livestream with Cady Coleman before the first panel and was happy to finally hear some kind of answer to the issue of menstration in space and that how it’s handled is up to personal choice. It was a bit disappointing however to hear that the Russians don’t want the women to use the toilet on ISS because of fears that it might make the toilet malfunction more quickly.

    (yes, the question of how they deal with biology and astronauts is one of my biggest questions if they’re going to send folks out there)

    • November 20, 2011 5:30 pm

      Wasn’t that wild? I was surprised to hear that as well.

      If you haven’t yet viewed the panel(s) you’d like to, they are still available on livestream; this clip has both Astronaut Cady Coleman’s speech and the first panel discussion (starting at or about 1:22): Women and Mars.

      • November 20, 2011 5:59 pm

        Well not only that, but hearing about issues with women not getting to go into space because of the pre-made Russian suits, seemed pretty wild as well and quite honestly not encouraging given the current open job posting for the astronaut corps.

        But thanks for reminding me that the livestream is archived! It looks like another crummy night of observing up at Kitt Peak, so the livestream can keep me occupied.

  3. November 15, 2011 4:56 pm

    I was able to watch a session (your panel) via Livestream and it was fantastic! It was so nice to be able to listen in even though I could not attend.

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