Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Astronaut / Cosmonaut part III

Sex in space
Sex in space refers to human sexual activity in the weightlessness and/or extreme environments of outer space.
Is Sex in Space Possible?
Sex would be very difficult in space. 
The micro-gravity environment causes problems in multiple ways.
The first problem is one that would certainly stop things in their tracks, and that is with the regulation of blood flow. The lack of proper gravity means that gravity does not flow throughout the body in the same way that it does on Earth, so it will be much more difficult (perhaps impossible in some cases) for males to achieve an erection.

It is possible that NASA has data on this, but it seems no one is talking. The second problem is that of sweat. When astronauts exercise in space their sweat tends to buildup in layers around their entire body, making them sticky and wet all over. This may make intimate moments more uncomfortable.
Then there are, of course, plumbing issues. Since blood obviously doesn't flow the same way in micro-gravity it is not a reach to assume that the flow of other vital sexual fluids would be inhibited as well. Though this may only be important if the goal were conception.

The third and most interesting problem is the actual act of sex. In a micro-gravity environment the slightest push or pull will send an object hurtling across the craft. This makes activities where two individuals are actively engaged physically quite difficult.
However, this will simply be overcome in the same way that astronauts already complete exercise routines in space. By strapping themselves into harnesses and fastening themselves to the walls of the spacecraft.
This may decrease the intimacy of the act, and will definitely be more constraining, but it should at least allow for a way for couples to engage in sexual activity (assuming everything else works).

Are there any openly Gay Astronauts?
Three hundred and thirty American men and women have served as astronauts since the start of NASA's human spaceflight program. Only one is publicly known to have been gay or bisexual  - Sally Ride - and she kept it private until her death, when her obituary on the Sally Ride Science organization's website stated that Ride was survived by Tam O'Shaughnessy, her "partner of 27 years."

Sally Kristen Ride (May 26, 1951 – July 23, 2012) was an American physicist and astronaut. Ride joined NASA in 1978 and at the age of 32, became the first American woman to enter into low Earth orbit in 1983. She left NASA in 1987 to work at Stanford University's Center for International Security and Arms Control and had served on the investigation panels for two space shuttle disasters (Challenger and Columbia) - the only person to serve on both.
She founded Sally Ride Science in 2001 and co-authored five children's science books with her life partner of 27 years, Tam O'Shaughnessy,  as well as another dozen or so space-related titles. Ride remains the youngest American astronaut to be launched into space

As the first American woman in space and a scientist, Ride served as a role model for generations of young girls. Now, she'll serve as a role model for LGBT youth as well, said her sister, Bear Ride. "I hope it makes it easier for kids growing up gay that they know that another one of their heroes was like them." 

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