When most of us think about what we'll need if we ever went to space, we think of the basics, right? Spacesuits, a rocket, oxygen, some cool AF high-waisted pants. So you can imagine Twitter's reaction when a photo of a makeup kit from the 1970's resurfaced online. Back then, NASA's male engineers assumed women would want to bring blush, eyeliner, eye-shadow, and other items along for their journey, so they created a kit to send on missions. Along with the photo, there was also a quote from Sally Ride — a physicist who became the first American woman to fly in space in 1983.
"The engineers at NASA, in their infinite wisdom, decided that women astronauts would want makeup — so they designed a makeup kit," the post read. "You can just imagine the discussions amongst the predominantly male engineers about what should go in a makeup kit. #RideOn #Classof78."
Sally Ride: "The engineers at NASA, in their infinite wisdom, decided that women astronauts would want makeup – so they designed a makeup kit… You can just imagine the discussions amongst the predominantly male engineers about what should go in a makeup kit." #RideOn #Classof78 pic.twitter.com/dNZ51cWELH
— NASA History Office (@NASAhistory) January 16, 2018
The comments on the post ranged from WTF to OMG, and one even slammed the organization for being sexist. May I remind you that this photo was from the 1970's: "Dang that's sexist. #NASA pretty much saying that men don't want to feel pretty too…" Another added, "Gotta be fashionable if you're going to meet aliens for the first time right??" LOL. A third chimed in, "Just imagined trying to put on mascara weightless…"
NASA has been making flight kits since the first crews took to outer space, but some actually liked the idea of swiping on some gloss in a weightless atmosphere. Retired astronaut Rhea Seddon wanted a few products because she was afraid of looking tired and washed out in photographs. "I spoke up for the minority. If there would be pictures taken of me from space, I didn’t want to fade into the background, so I requested some basic items," she explained on her website. Valerie Neal, a space-shuttle curator at the Smithsonian added, "If a woman wanted a makeup kit and her products tested out as okay, she could have it."
However, as Quartzy points out, NASA's prototype kit was never actually sent into space; it was transferred to the Smithsonian in 2002. But every now and then when the photo resurfaces, we can't help but giggle. After all, let's not forget that the engineers who thought up this kit once asked Sally if 100 tampons would be enough for her weeklong journey into space.