Sex in Space, Part I

A Russian biomedical agency recently declared that cosmonauts never had sex or conducted sex-related experiments in space. NASA hands out the same line regarding sex and U.S. astronauts and others who have gone into Space aboard NASA spacecraft. This leads me to believe the U.S. and Russian/Soviet space programs are run by incredibly short sighted managers or they think the public is stupid and continue to lie about their respective space programs. I tend to favor the later.

If a country dreams of becoming a space-faring nation, wouldn't the question of whether humans can reproduce in Space be a vital one to answer? And with the billions spent on getting humans into Space, wouldn't governments spend a few bucks on bringing back sperm samples, as well as checking to see how sperm behaves in zero g? You also have to think they tried artificially inseminating a wide variety of plants and animals while in orbit, then brought back the results to be studied and, perhaps, destroyed. It's not beyond the pale for the U.S. or Soviets to try the same with human sperm and ova. I don't know about you, but I would classify such efforts as sex-related experiments.

I know NASA is extremely image conscious and reluctant to discuss subjects they deem potentially embarrassing. For example, the fact astronauts wear diapers, er, maximum absorbency garments, was only revealed to the public when an astronaut tried to kill or hurt another astronaut over a messed up love affair. But many of us taxpayers are adults and can handle such delicate topics. So if it is impossible to reproduce in Space or being in Space makes a certain percentage of men or women sterile or likely to have children with birth defects, some of would like to know. After all, we paid for the information.

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Stephen Mraz

Steve serves as Senior Editor of Machine Design.  He has 23 years of service and has a B.S. Biomedical Engineering from Steve was a Flight officer in the U.S. Navy. He is currently responsible...
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