Journalism is a pretty straightforward thing: you learn of something, research it, check your sources and report it in a simple-to-understand fashion. That is, when you are serious about it. If you are sloppy, however, you end up writing stuff like ‘Shocking! Scientists say having sex in space will kill you!’… while the truth is available just one click away.
What happened last week was that a Canadian botanical biology team published the result of a study explaining how gravity changes disrupt some cellular processes related to the reproduction of plants – which is important research, as future long missions such as Tito’s Mars circumnavigation will require a healthy garden on board to provide both food and life support (i.e. CO2 scrubbing) to the astronauts.
This however has nothing to do with human sex in zero gravity, which is a very interesting topic in itself. As a matter of fact, since there is no need to further debunk the fake news, I thought you might be interested in learning something actually true if you wish to have a space romp.
- There is no official research on this topic
Even if an alleged NASA paper about the best position for having sex in absence of gravity has been making the Internet rounds for years, that study is just a joke. As scientific journalist Mary Roach explains, the best evidence for this is the fact that according to that document the tests would have taken place during an all-male shuttle mission.
- Some attempt has probably happened anyway
Put yourself in the shoes of Mark Lee and Jan Davis, who flew together as newlyweds during the STS-47 shuttle mission – and tell me you wouldn’t try taking a few minutes of privacy to live such an exceptional experience.
The Soviet cosmonauts who logged long stayings on the MIR have openly admitted they masturbated, but they denied any erotic attempt during mixed-crew missions «bacause several committees forbid it». Sure.
- Known zero gravity attempts didn’t go too well
There is a way to experience freefloating even without flying into space. It is called ‘free fall’, and unless you dare to try an extremely dangerous intercourse while parachuting, you are better off trying it during the parabolic flights also used to train astronauts and film some scenes of science fiction movies. The problem is that weightless flight only lasts 20 seconds, during which you are bouncing around the plane’s cargo hold. Those who tried it guarantee it isn’t very arousing – especially because of the nausea induced when gravity returns.
- The “zero-G” porn video is an almost-fake
No matter what is written above, someone did try filming pornographic scenes during a parabolic flight. They were intended to be edited into a video called The Uranus experiment part 2, starring Sylvia Saint and Nick Lang. For the reasons already mentioned the results were so disastrous that the final video only includes badly simulated scenes.
- Things will change with the Mars mission
If everything goes well, in 2018 a private mission will bring two persons to Mars and back (without landing there). According to the project the crew will be composed by a married couple, who during the 501 days of flight will also experiment with the sexual side of such missions – a necessity in the future, if we want to colonize other planets. No further details were revealed, but no attempt to make a “space baby” will take place, because the vehicle won’t be shielded enough to protect the couple from radiations and the fetus would likely be severely malformed.
- If you are very, very rich you can try it now. Or in a while if you are just very rich
The only way to go space flying as a private citizen is to pay 20 million dollars (each) to the Russian Space Agency to buy a passenger seat during an ISS resupply mission. Of course you will need months of training and there probably won’t be two free seats on the same flight, so don’t sweat it.
Virgin Galactic however is still developing its suborbital flights program. Their tickets will be “just” $200,000 and they could start launching in two years. In this case the problem is that weightless time will be limited to six minutes and you’ll be sharing the capsule with five other persons – but if space orgies intrigue you…