More than a quarter of the astronauts on China’s next manned space mission will be women, but they were selected according to a strict set of criteria which rules out any with pronounced body odour or bad teeth.
China Daily reported that China’s next wo-manned mission will see the Shenzhou-9 spacecraft blasted into the skies above the earth to dock with Tiangong-1, a test lab designed to help astronauts trial some of the technologies China is hoping to use in its planned space station.
However, while it was decided in a rare example of sexual equality in the People’s Republic that two out of the seven astronauts, or taikonauts, are to be female, they were picked according to some fairly peculiar rules.
The 15 female candidates for the mission which were then whittled down to two had to be married and have given birth naturally, as this reportedly ensures they have the mental and physical fortitude to survive in space.
In fact, the women had to have flawless skin, as any scars run the risk of opening and bleeding in space, the report continued.
In addition, smelly girls need not apply – because the cramped conditions of the space craft would make the stench unbearable, Pang Zhihao, deputy editor-in-chief of Space International magazine, is quoted as saying.
"They even must not have decayed teeth because any small flaw might cause great trouble or a disaster in space," he continued.
Trying to dig himself out of a rather deep hole, Pang added that female astronauts are valuable on missions as they tend to be "keen and sensitive with better communication skills than their male counterparts".
Presumably that’s unless they’re single, where a combination of mental weakness and dangerous lasciviousness makes them liable to crash the spacecraft. ®