Statistics show NASA has been traditionally reluctant to put a female in space. Not so in Hollywood. Here are the top 10 women who kick butt in zero- gravity conditions on the big screen.
Galaxy of girl power
1 Ellen Ripley ( Sigourney Weaver) in Aliens ( 1986)
Former chief warrant officer of the spaceship Nostromo – and the toughest, smartest and most determined woman to ever leave Earth’s atmosphere. Proficient in all forms of arms handling and large machinery operation. As males around her perish because of their own stupidity, Ripley cleverly improvises a one- woman assault on the alien mother beast – all the while fighting her own maternal instincts.
Little- known fact: About 200 years after her death, Ripley was cloned as part of an experiment to breed super- human alien hybrids. It did not go well. See Alien: Resurrection ( 1997) for full results.
2 Elizabeth Shaw ( Noomi Rapace) in Prometheus ( 2012)
A next- gen Ripley? Absolutely. In spite of her rather delicate pedigree as a field archaeologist, she can more than handle herself against aggressive alien species of indiscriminate origin. Exceedingly high pain threshold ( see scene where she performs radical medical procedure upon herself).
Little- known fact: Her missionary worker dad died in the mid- 2070s from Ebola virus.
3 Neytiri ( Zoe Saldana) in Avatar ( 2009)
Fearless Navi princess warrior from the moon kingdom of Pandora ( directions: head to Alpha Centauri star system, turn left at the gas giant Polyphemus). More than 2m tall, equally skilled in air and ground combat and very handy with a knife.
Little- known fact: According to James Cameron’s original notes, Neytiri is only 18- years- old ‘‘ in human time’’ but already considered a Navi elder.
4 Princess Leia Organa ( Carrie Fisher) in
Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope ( 1977) Everyone’s favourite space royal. OK, so it’s only out of her and Natalie Portman’s dull old Princess Amidala. Still, a win is a win. And poor old Leia did have to get around with that bad cinnamon bun hairdo.
Little- known fact: In early drafts of A New Hope, Princess Leia had two brothers – Prince Biggs and Prince Windy.
5 Lt. Nyota Uhura ( Zoe Saldana) in Star Trek ( 2009)
Crack communications officer whose mastery of obscure space dialects often saves the day for USS Enterprise. She continually has Spock worried their romantic chemistry might fall foul of Starfleet’s HR department.
Little- known fact: Nyota is one of three Swahili words for ‘‘ star’’.
6 Carolyn Fry ( Radha Mitchell) in Pitch Black ( 2000)
Co- captain of ill- fated space transporter Hunter- Grazner, which crash- lands on an inhospitable planet. Forms uneasy alliance with a disreputable fugitive named Riddick to save the vessel’s survivors from certain death at the hands of nocturnal hunters.
Little- known fact: Fry is actually aged in her 40s, but looks about 25 because she has spent so long in cryo- sleep chambers .
7 Lt. Carmen Ibanez ( Denise Richards) in Starship Troopers ( 1997)
Lt. Ibanez is a highly skilled space pilot who can also dismember a monster- sized arachnid at close range. Highly motivated to succeed after her hometown of Buenos Aries is obliterated by an asteroid.
Little- known fact: The project was sold to Touchstone Pictures with the unpromising working title of Bug Hunt at Outpost Nine.
8 Cassie ( Rose Byrne) in Sunshine ( 2007)
The second fully- licensed spaceship pilot listed here, Cassie is one of eight brave souls who accept a 2057 suicide mission towards a fading sun. By helping to jump- start the dying star, she may save all mankind.
Little- known fact: Scientists do predict a distant future where man will be forced to artificially boost the sun’s power in some way.
9 Barbarella ( Jane Fonda) in Barbarella ( 1968)
The most promiscuous space heroine of all- time, Barbarella struts her inter- galactic stuff in the year 40,000. On the evidence presented here, mankind faces a future where clothes will fall off for no apparent reason.
Little- known fact: Barbie’s pervy arch- nemesis Durand- Durand inspired the name of ’ 80s pop sensations Duran Duran.
10 Susan Storm ( Jessica Alba) in Fantastic Four ( 2005)
Accomplished astronaut and genetics scientist who returns from posting to a space station with a radical set of superpowers. She can establish large force fields when angry, and become invisible on demand.
Little- known fact: Is a close personal friend of obscure Marvel Comics superheroine She- Hulk.