The Science (and Business) of Sex in Space

Thursday February 20, 2020 Written by Ronan

Let's talk about (space) sex.

We’ve done a lot of research into what it’ll take to live on Mars. But one activity has been frustratingly neglected: human reproduction. Thankfully, statistical analysis website FiveThirtyEight has made a nice, mostly safe-for-work video surveying the scant research into this delicate subject, and it’s an eyebrow-raising watch. (Scroll down to watch.)

Officially, no human has had sex in space (though there are rumours about astronauts violating NASA’s co-worker dating policy). But with longer space trips and planetary colonisation on the horizon, we need to know whether it’s actually possible.

At this point, our understanding is at a seventh-grade level. We know that zero-gravity reproduction is possible in some species, though mammals are yet to do it. And the animals that have done it have found it difficult: fruit flies take twice as long as normal to mate in space, while wasps become too disoriented to get their act together.

And that, sadly, is about the extent of our knowledge. It seems the science community is a little prudish when it comes to conducting research. Maybe it’s time for NASA to loosen its restriction on astronauts drinking alcohol

Space Sex is Serious Business from Tom McCarten on Vimeo.