Monday, July 5, 2010

Rhymes with HEX


Unsurprisingly, the "Space Sex" post generated a flurry of hits and comments, despite ending with gestational complications among rodentia. Apparently, it's true -- all that's needed to attract readers is type the word "sex" somewhere. So, enjoy it while it's in the news, because you likely won't ever see it here again... (unless Roskosmos comes up with a completely different isolation experiment next time).

Brian Shiro of Astronauts4hire says: Good point about the non-humans copulating in orbit. Keith Olbermann also did a segment on space sex on his show a few days ago. He showed clips from a History Channel show on the subject and brought in an astrophysicist as the resident expert.
Good for him! I should have mentioned and linked to this last time. In Season 3 of Universe, the History Channel explored physiological, psychological and cultural challenges of sexuality in weightlessness. How will the extreme environment of space effect copulation, conception, foetal development and the emotional lives of astronauts? The entire program is available on YouTube.

History Channel: UNIVERSE
Best. Show. Ever.

Suzanne The Farmer's Wife says: Poindexter's comment is not accurate. The space program, as in any other human endeavor, is populated with people who are indeed "human." Is he forgetting that at least one mentally unstable astronaut slipped through the cracks? One that involved in a love triangle, no less. Nice foray into the controversial. Good job as always.
Thanks Suzanne! Yeah, I'm sure they dread being asked about Lisa Nowak, because a single scandal can cast a long shadow on an entire operation... and NASA was tight-lipped about sexual issues even before that incident! Poindexter was, of course, giving the rote response that NASA absolutely expects any astronaut to give to reporters. It's unrealistic to expect us to believe that humans spend intense training time together and never fall prey to normal crushes, bond through that unique and grueling training, or even develop genuine affection. This is our natural tendency; we would not be human otherwise. To be exempt, astronauts would have to be blind or dead.

What I find funny about that is how people like to pretend they've never done anything goofy or obsessive in the name of love. Competition, jealousy, modifying one's behavior during courtship and arousal –- these are all perfectly normal animal activities, and in a small percentage of cases, they cause some individuals to lose touch with reality.

However, do you think there was anything specifically about "being an astronaut" that caused Nowak to snap? If there is something wired wrong in her head, such an incident may have occurred no matter what she did for a living. The fact that it was a "triangle" of astronauts has, unfortunately, made NASA all the more uneasy... and continually outright ignoring normal human behavior without addressing emotional possibilities is not the answer either.

Space Agencies in less clinical and conservative cultures than ours, such as Roskosmos and the ESA, will address sexuality before America does.

Blogger Sci-Fi Gene says: Presumably it will be a different matter if any of those space hotel projects get off the ground, or even if slightly longer sub-orbital flights become available for space tourism. I can imagine in this situation it might actually make sense for NASA to commission this kind of research!
Thank you! True that -– any boom in space tourism will likely result in a boom in such experimentation. The companies touting space packages for cash will have to provide training, so it makes one wonder… will they inform couples about the dangers of conception in space? Space lawyer needed to draft waiver: "Please note conception in micro-gravity may cause unknown developmental issues during pregnancy." Would you still break out the duct tape?

Keith of Flatbadger's Flashback says: I hate to be "low class" but I WANT to have sex in space LMAO!
Eh, we're primates. We want to have sex... pretty much everywhere. It isn't low class to want to have sex in space; on the contrary, it's high time to stop denying it, whispering about it or making fun of it, and embrace the rational need to study this most basic biological drive. We certainly aren't leaving Earth without it.

Diane D from Florida asks: Seriously, a married couple went into space? Doesn't that sort of prove that astronauts date each other?
Yes and yes. Mark Lee and Jan Davis are the only married couple to fly in space. They wed in secret during training, then served together aboard STS-47 Space Shuttle Endeavor in 1992. They are the two in the picture below with their arms about one another. They had two children, but divorced in 2001.

At current count, 28 astronauts have married among the various space agencies. So Mr. Poindexter, tell us again why astronauts aren't part of the human race? ;)