On this blog, I've shared information about recent astronaut selections by NASA in the US, CSA in Canada, ESA in Europe, JAXA in Japan, and even the possibility for astronauts from ISRO in India. Now China is making news with its latest astronaut selection. According to China Daily and the Guardian, China has chosen seven new astronauts from a pool of 45 air force pilots. The names have not been released yet, but all are between the ages of 27 and 34, and five hail from Shandong Province.
Photograph: AFP/Getty Images from gaurdian.co.uk
Two of the seven new recruits are females, and interestingly, only mothers were considered for the job. This was ostensibly due to concerns for their reproductive well being according to officials since "there is little evidence on how the space experience will affect the female constitution." I guess the effect of space on the male ability to reproduce isn't as important. The articles fail to mention that women are generally lighter and consume less food, air, and water compared with men, making them potentially less expensive to send into space. It does, however, state that women are "more mentally stable, better able to bear loneliness and [have] better communication skills [than men]." The first Chinese woman/mother in space could fly as soon as 2012.
May 10, 2010 Update
Some more details about the new female Chinese astronauts are available here.