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Scientists Update Us on Sex in Space; Thanks Scientists


Sex in space (how to do it; what the consequences might be; and whether it’s happened already) isn’t something that most national space agencies are really comfortable putting out press releases on. I mean, except Russia. But that certainly doesn’t mean that people haven’t asked, theorized, and plotted models on it, and with more public interest from private organizations in space exploration since the end of the space shuttle program, and more public interest in Mars following the successful landing of the Curiosity rover, it seems like a good time as any to check in. Lets see what scientists have to say.

The Mars Foundation, for example, is a non-profit organization that’s attempting to launch a 501-day manned mission to orbit Mars in 2018, and because of the duration of the trip, is looking for a married couple to staff their ship. According to Laura Woodmansee, author of Sex in Space, expecting such a space voyage to include some extraterrestrial hanky panky is simply realistic. From Space.com:

Well, I’m sure that the couple chosen for the Inspiration Mars plan will have sex in space. No doubt there! I think that’s kind of an unwritten requirement. That’s why, I suppose, the foundation is planning to send a married couple. If how-to stories return to Earth with the Inspiration Mars couple, it really could inspire a true space tourism industry. Hopefully the couple will keep a diary and feel comfortable enough to clue the rest of us in on what to expect.

Sex in space isn’t exactly the easiest thing, even after you work out some way to steady yourself in microgravity. On the one hand, we’re not really sure that it would be possible to conceive a child in outside of the radiation shielding that is the Earth’s atmosphere. On the other, if it is possible, pregnancy in space could be fraught with increased danger. Astronauts already have to deal with the fluids and organs in their bodies repositioning themselves and loss of bone density over a long time spent in low gravity. Woodmansee mentions ectopic pregnancies as a particular risk, but adds:

The thing is, a baby created and born in space could be perfectly fine. We just don’t know enough about the subject. We’ve evolved here on the Earth, so moving to outer space is moving evolution in a different direction.

So if you find yourself in a position to have sex in a microgravity environment, just remember to use protection. And then let me know how you managed that, because I… have a friend who’s kind of interested in that thing. You know, academically.

(via Space.com.)

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  • http://zadl.org/ Captain ZADL

    +100 Nerd Points for correctly using “microgravity” instead of “zero g”

  • Anonymous

    And the fanfic authors start taking notes… ;)

  • Anonymous

    I’m imagining you’d need some kind of harness or something to keep the participants together. So I’m going to get on designing one of those because that is a multi-billion dollar industry just waiting to happen.

    Someone else can solve the whole problem of the… fluids.

  • Betty Windsor

    I need to ask NdGT this on Star Talk, and hope hope hope he answers. I can only imagine how amusing that could be.

  • Andrea S

    “Sex in space” does make me think about Garrus..

  • http://twitter.com/KDBryan K. D. Bryan

    +10K Nerd Points for using Garrus and FemShep as your graphic for this article.

  • Pink Apocalypse

    I am so grateful to random chance popping me into existence at this approximate time during humanity’s story.

    As opposed to, say, anytime before spaceflight. Or modern medicine. Or a million other things many of us take for granted, that so many others still don’t have.

  • http://twitter.com/_eressa Laralock

    About a possible pregnancy; wouldn’t it be also quite difficult for the spermatozoids to reach the uterus due to the mentioned microgravity?

  • Mina

    Mmm….not sure. They swim a lot of the way (thus why they can still make it if you’re standing and they have to go against gravity), so maybe they’d be fine.

  • http://twitter.com/_eressa Laralock

    possibly, but I remember watching a video showing that liquid in space tended to form bubbles. I don’t know if seminal liquid would behave in such way inside the uterus. *ponders*.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ashe.samuels Ashe P. Samuels

    Talk about bragging rights.

    “So you have a Ph.D, pshaw! I was conceived in SPACE!”

  • http://twitter.com/ghilbrae Angela Rivera

    Because “Sex in space” = Mass Effect. Nice way to start my day, plus science!

  • http://twitter.com/lanibgoode Lani

    OOOH OOOH PICK ME PICK ME! My husband would be THRILLED, I’m sure, to conceive a child in space.

  • http://twitter.com/redthehaze Red Veron

    Bring on the NewTypes!!!