The space environment is not compatible with our human biology. Much less with our bodily processes, and therefore sex in space does not work as it does on our planet. However, there has never been a vigorous effort at the academic level to analyze the details of how to manage these central aspects of human life beyond our little blue planet.
Until now. NASA researchers want to get serious about studying sexuality in space. Something that has been left out for a long time.
spatial sexology. Last year, a team of academics published a recommendation encouraging large space organizations to “adopt a new discipline of study.” This is vital to exploring space and hopefully building human settlements there. They called this revolutionary new field of research “space sexology: the scientific study of extraterrestrial intimacy and sexuality.” In other words: do it in space.
“Space science can take us into space. But it will be human relationships that will determine whether we will thrive as a space civilization,” the study authors wrote.
the beginning of something. While our future plans are to establish settlements off our planet by 2050 (are you there, Elon?), then we need a roadmap for managing and breeding relationships in these outposts. Sexual intimacy is vital to most people’s physical and mental health, so astronauts on perennial missions may want or even need to maintain that sex life while they’re there.
Dozens of researchers from all over the world and from different disciplines have been conducting this work for at least 30 years. Some artists have even created eye-catching speculative designs and prototype devices aimed at helping astronauts descend into a vacuum to get people thinking about the subject.
Everything we know (don’t know). Ever since the space race began in the 20th century, we’ve realized that low-gravity environments have significant effects on human body systems such as blood flow, musculoskeletal strength, and even hormonal balance. Also, without the protection of the Earth’s magnetic field, people in space are exposed to very high levels of ambient radiation, which over time can interfere with our bodies and DNA and lead to a range of conditions from cancer to nerves. degeneration.
So in space biology, all that mattered was figuring out how to keep the astronauts alive in that hostile environment and rehabilitate them when they returned to Earth. And there was no reason to pay attention to sex. But in the 1980s, after the Soviet Union launched Mir, a space station that allowed astronauts to stay in space for months, scientists began to voice concerns about the effects of long-term space travel on sexual and reproductive health. And when the USSR started running mixed missions, the press started thinking about the possibility of sex in space.
Do it with low gravity. Now articles, conferences, and even TV shows are full of fine details about how doing this in space might work. And they even detail how any push in low-gravity environments can blow two people apart.
Or how the effects of low gravity on hormone levels and blood flow can affect sexual desire and make physical arousal more difficult. And yes, also how fluids accumulate due to the lack of gravity, which can lead to large sweat beads and floating semen.
Can it work? NASA has changed its stance in recent years. An agency representative explained in this Mic report that they “have already studied the basic science of reproductive physiology in various species, including fruit flies, worms, snails, jellyfish, fish, frogs, birds, and rodents.” human sperm.
However, a review published in 2018 argued that the data produced by these experiments are “sparse, often contradictory, and do not provide enough information to say definitively whether physiological processes will occur successfully in a space environment.” This is mainly because data collected from animals may not be applicable to human subjects.
Space agencies don’t want to talk about it. Whenever researchers and journalists force space agencies to talk about it, they usually stay silent. Some observers argue that space agencies are only interested in reproductive health issues because they are only interested in space science, not tourism or settlements.
What about extended stays? Space agencies have a number of ambitious exploration projects in mind, like NASA’s Artemis, that will involve extended stays on the moon followed by journeys to Mars. These missions will leave small crews of astronauts in space for years. But NASA and other major space agencies have reportedly long feared that close relationships could endanger the stability of these crews rather than contribute to their mental and physical health. For this reason, they have traditionally called for “abstinence” in missions.
But from time to time, rumors circulate that astronauts are breaking unspoken rules. In 1992, two NASA astronauts secretly fell in love and got married while training. They told their superiors that it was too late to change their mission, and together they went into space, resulting in hundreds of sensational articles. What have you done? Expected: denying that they ever thought of the idea of dating there. they did? We will never know.
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Source: Xatak Android
Ashley Johnson is a science writer for “Div Bracket”. With a background in the natural sciences and a passion for exploring the mysteries of the universe, she provides in-depth coverage of the latest scientific developments.