Tuesday, May 01, 2007


by Tom Bozzo

Or, The Fifth Generation of Social Science?! (ref.)

Where are the astrosociologists when you need them? NASA is pondering crew health issues raised by long-duration spaceflight at more-than-quick-re-entry distances. Well, not all of the problems:

One topic that is evidently too hot to handle: How do you cope with sexual desire among healthy young men and women during a mission years long?

Sex is not mentioned in the document and has long been almost a taboo topic at NASA. Williams said the question of sex in space is not a matter of crew health but a behavioral issue that will have to be taken up by others at NASA.

The agency will have to address the matter sooner or later, said Paul Root Wolpe, a bioethicist at the University of Pennsylvania who has advised NASA since 2001.

"There is a decision that is going to have to be made about mixed-sex crews, and there is going to be a lot of debate about it," he said.

Uh, yeah, because if you stick a bunch of men in a glorified tin can for months on end, Teh Gay will never happen. Not with a Republican administration's astronauts, anyhow.

Not that I wouldn't expect legions of volunteers for sex-in-space research studies drawn from the population who think we should establish a Martian calendar now.

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I can't believe you passed up the opportunity for an adult diaper joke.

Seriously, they've already got a problem with sexual relationships developing between astronauts.
Welcome back, Mrs. C.

I'd been saving up the Astroglide joke for some time (at least, since the astrosociology scrap at Dried Sage), so I evidently missed something. I don't doubt that there's been some zero-gee lovin' on the interminable Mir/ISS flights, unless the crewmembers are truly screened for being masters of all they can see out the windows. (I mean, if Wolfowitz can find a girlfriend...) I thought the emphasis on the problem of co-ed flights was the funny part.
Read the book
True, true.

But sex between members of the same sex isn't Teh Gay if there's no members of the opposite sex available, you know. It's just "making do". NASA excels in ingenuity, right?
There are very serious consequences of biological reproduction in space; NASA is considering sending multi gendered crews to Mars for years at a time. What if a crew member becomes pregnant? Does NASA sanction an off world abortion, or even more serious, does the baby get born? If it is born off world, what are it’s chances of survival on the trip home? Could the foetus even develop properly in a different gravity regime? Could it survive living on Earth after the trip home?
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