74

The Guardian:

US and Russian astronauts have had sex in space for separate research programmes on how human beings might survive years in orbit, according to a book published yesterday.

Pierre Kohler, a respected French scientific writer, says in The Final Mission: Mir, The Human Adventure that the subject is taboo both at Nasa and at mission control in Moscow, but that cosmic couplings have taken place.

I'm skeptical of this claim that Pierre Kohler made in 2000. Is there serious evidence nowadays?

  • 9
    Your link says "This note was added on 30 January 2010: In the story below, the Nasa report cited by Pierre Kohler proved to be a hoax. See this later explanatory Guardian blog" – RedGrittyBrick Dec 13 '12 at 23:48
  • 3
    @Keith: However, it appears she travelled solo in Vostok-6. – RedGrittyBrick Dec 14 '12 at 0:01
  • 3
    I remember a friend complaining about the local news in the early '90s. They had a promo asking roughly "Have astronauts already had sex in space?" and followed with their tag line "For the news you need to know!" My friend was asking why exactly she needed to know this. – Oddthinking Dec 14 '12 at 0:19
  • 10
    "asking why exactly she needed to know this" Prurient interest, plain and simple. Or at least that is why ... uh ... my friend wants to know. – dmckee Dec 14 '12 at 2:33
  • 3
    @dmckee: Oh, I'm not saying your friends prurient interest is off-topic. I was saying (a) the claim has been around longer than 2000, and (b) it is funny to hear it described as something "you need to know". – Oddthinking Dec 14 '12 at 12:01
71

The claim that NASA has asked people to have sex in space as a scientific experiment seems a bit far-fetched to me. I would expect them to experiment with animal mating first, which it doesn't seem they have done. (Update: Russia experimented with gecko mating in July 2014. The experiment was not successful.)

As for whether or not any sex-in-space has happened, that is harder to say. No one has publicly admitted to it, but that doesn't mean it hasn't happened. There is this article in which an astronaut provides an adamant "no": No Time for Sex In Space, Astronaut Says. But that doesn't prove that it has never happened either. ("He's just jealous!") Astronauts are human and may give in to their emotions at times. You may recall that there was once an astronaut who put on astronaut diapers and drove a thousand miles to try to kill another astronaut's girlfriend. So you can take any notion that they are completely professional all the time, and throw it out of the airlock.

There is also this:

The first married couple to fly in space together were N. Jan Davis and Mark C. Lee who both served as mission specialists aboard Endeavour on STS-47 in September 1992. Lee and Davis had met during training for the flight and had married in secret. They disclosed their marriage to NASA shortly before the flight, when it was too late to train a substitute. NASA has since changed the rules and will not allow married astronauts on the same flight.

Source: Wikipedia (sourcing CNN)

Of course, they've never come out and said that they had sex while they were newlyweds in space.


Update: It looks like there may soon be a definitive "yes", as there are now plans to film an adult movie in space.

  • 24
    "You would expect [NASA] to experiment with animal mating [before asking astronauts to try it]" Don't know that I buy that---aside from the beauracractic awkwardness of officially asking people to bonk in space---because you can simply ask people and they can bring creative intelligence to the job, while animals may be off their stride and may not be able to figure out how to proceed. Good answer, though. – dmckee Dec 20 '12 at 1:17
  • 9
    @DjangoReinhardt given that the vital signs of the crews are monitored 24/7 and there are cameras all over the place, you'd have very little privacy and the rise in heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, etc. etc. would set off alarm bells in mission HQ. Not a great backdrop for a little tette-a-tette, unless maybe you're both die hard exhibitionists, in which case you would likely fail to meet the psychological pattern requirements to be selected for the mission. – jwenting Jul 26 '13 at 5:39
  • 15
    @jwenting well... you might also expect the psychological screenings to filter out the type of person who might put on astronaut diapers so they can drive a thousand miles to kill another astronaut's girlfriend... – Kip Jul 26 '13 at 15:41
  • 9
    @jwenting What are you talking about? Have you watched any of the videos from the ISS? There's no cameras everywhere and they're not monitored 24/7. Where are you getting your information form? – Django Reinhardt Jul 29 '13 at 23:00
  • 6
    Kip: Ha! I wouldn't be surprised. Lol. @jwenting Here's what being on the ISS is ACTUALLY like. wimp.com/orbitaltour – Django Reinhardt Jul 29 '13 at 23:48

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .