On Wednesday, sixRussian girls began an eight-day experiment onboard a mock spacecraft to examine how an all-female crew fare with the physical, social and psychological stres of long-haul spaceflight.

The team will perform 10 scientific experiments to simulate the pressure of working on a spaceflight to the Moon and back. They will also have 1.5 hours per day of free time, where they can watch films, read and socialize.

The women, aged between 22 to 34, are Yelena Luchitskaya, Darya Komissarova, Polina Kuznetsova, Anna Kussmaul, Inna Nosikova, and Tatyana Shiguyeva all of whom have expertise in medication, biophysics or psychology.

The girls will be let on next Thursday. For now, however, the participants will be in awood-lined spacecraft that'sequipped with cameras and will beunder constant observation from scientists and doctors.

Experiment supervisor Sergei Ponomaryov explained, Such a crew is taking part for the first time in a simulation experimentation. Its interesting for us to insure what is special about the style a female crew communicates.

Valentina Tereshkova , aRussian cosmonaut, was the first female into space in 1963, just two years after Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space. Since then, 40 womenfrom a range of countrieshave been to space.

Ponomaryov added, Theres never been an all-female crew on the ISS. We consider the future of space belongs equally to men and women and unfortunately we need to catch up a bit after a period when unfortunately there havent been too many women in space.

However, if you thought exceedingly intelligent and highly trained girls were free from sexism, youre wrong.

Institute Director Igor Ushakov told, It will be particularly interesting in terms of psychology. They say that in one kitchen, two housewives find it hard to live together.

The press conference before the start of the mission also featured topics like, How will you deal with being without makeup for eight days? and How will you cope with not being around humen?

We are very beautiful without makeup, Darya Komissarova responded to the first question. While her colleague, Anna Kussmaul, told: We are doing run. When you're doing your work, you don't think about men and women.

This isnt the first time the issue of sexism in space has been raised. Yelena Serova, the first Russian female onboard the International Space Station, complained about the media bombarding her with superficial topics [ youtube https :// www.youtube.com/ watch? v= 6TxG7k_4CZE]

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