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The Anti-Climactic Answer To “What’s It Like To Get Your Period In Outer Space”


Menstruation has historically been used as an excuse to keep folks with ovaries out of astronaut suits, in spite of the fact that getting a period in space is no different than getting it on Earth. But that didn’t stop decades of scientists from speculating about what might go wrong if anyone ever dared to test that out.

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The creepiest theory about why space menses should be prevented at all costs could be “retrograde menstruation,” which purported that micro-gravity could cause blood to flow backwards up one’s fallopian tubes. A sillier theory supposed that it would be dangerous to put “temperamental” menstruating astronauts inside a “complicated machine.”

Seems pretty unscientific to make those claims without testing them out, though, right? After all, astronauts already take on a lot of risks by going into space; they’re probably signing a lot of waivers about “concerns” as it is, anyway. And if anyone ever had concerns about other bodily functions  space poop, for example  that clearly didn’t prevent anybody from heading off into the great beyond.

In conclusion, let’s stop asking this question of any astronaut, because the answer is as boring as Storm’s notorious comeback in X-Men. Let’s ask better questions. Like, say, what happens to space poop.

(via NPR, image via Tumblr)

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Maddy Myers
Maddy Myers, journalist and arts critic, has written for the Boston Phoenix, Paste Magazine, MIT Technology Review, and tons more. She is a host on a videogame podcast called Isometric (, and she plays the keytar in a band called the Robot Knights (

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