Ever since mankind has contemplated the unfathomable depths of space, we have dreamed of having sex in it. Just imagine it: a romantic view of the stars while effortlessly performing zero gravity sex moves like "around the world." Of course you would also have to deal with the cramped quarters, bearded Russian cosmonauts wanting to watch, and the fact that neither of you would have had a proper shower in light years. While astronauts have studied the mating habits of lab animals in zero gravity, NASA has refused to reveal if any humans have had sex aboard their vessels. One husband and wife team, Jan Davis and Mark Lee, did share a mission, but as married people they were probably accustomed to forgoing sex for long periods of time. While NASA has yet to officially conduct experiments on human sex in space, some grounded NASA scientists recently completed a report analyzing the feasibility of procreation and pregnancy outside the Earth's protective atmosphere. While this may seem like a pointless, though titillating, thought experiment, the study is important in understanding the challenges we face in setting up human franchises on space stations and other planets.
While no one is disputing that space sex would be
---wait for it---out of this world, the ability of such a union to produce healthy offspring is in doubt. Future space parents would face a variety of problems when it comes to conception, most involving the radiation bursts that would bombard their fetuses and genitals like swift kicks of cosmic energy right to the gonads.
The first issue involves the radiation of cosmic rays. These would not only damage a spaceman's sperm, they would also potentially sterilize the resulting fetus and likely terminate the pregnancy. Another hazard is solar flares. These ejaculations of matter and energy from the sun during periods of intense solar activity would expose the cosmonauts to even more radiation, boosting the rates of miscarriages and infertility.
While this may be good news for astronauts who forget their contraceptives on Earth with their spouses, it's not ideal for puritanical space pilgrims who want to populate the universe with non-deformed babies. If America intends to keep its lead in the space race and defeat Richard Branson in setting up an interplanetary empire, we must invest in creating effective solar shields that guard our astronaut's genitals and fetuses from radiation as effectively as latex blocks sperm.
Read the full, humorless, study published in the peer reviewed Journal of Cosmology