A future human settlement on the moon must embrace gender diversity, putting the first woman on the lunar surface, the International Astronautical Congress has heard.
The European Space Agency is promoting the concept of a “moon village” with a possible location at the lunar south pole.
ESA boss Jan Woerner says women should take a central role in any future moon base.
The very nature of a moon village required gender diversity, he told a breakfast presentation on Wednesday.
Former astronaut Sandy Magnus said embracing gender diversity would make any project stronger.
Working with different personalities and genders was a good thing, she said.
“Using multiple networks with different people helps you get out of the box, it gives you a new perspective,” she said.
But Dr Magnus also believed the first lunar settlers should be the best people for the job, regardless of gender, reflecting on an idea at NASA some years go to have an all-female crew on a space shuttle flight.
“The entire astronaut core rejected the proposal, the women most of all,” she said.
“It was just a gimmick idea. Women are smart enough and strong enough to win selection on their own merits.”
So far 553 people have travelled in space but only 60 of them have been women.
Steve Durst, director of the International Lunar Observatory Association, said that should change.
“The first woman on the moon should be just as historic as the first man on the moon,” he said.
“To be a multi-world civilisation we must ensure gender equality,” he said.