April the 12th, 1961, fifty years ago, this very day, Yuri Gagarin was launched beyond the boundaries and horizons of planet Earth. The record is not as much about the “first man in space” but more likely about the first man who came back alive, after spending some time, in a capsule, out of the atmosphere.
Indeed, the man-in-space race officially opened in 1961. Half a century later, after abruptly abandoning the Moon, America and Russia sustain a permanent crew-of-few on the ISS, circling Earth more or less in a similar orbit as the one traced by Yuri Gagarin. To sum it up in two words: not much!
Soviet cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya was the second woman in space. She flew aboard Soyuz T-7 which was launched on August 19, 1982. There were two men there accompanying her. So naughty people were wondering: were they having sex on Soyuz? Turns out that they refrained from it. This is the official statement, possibly true. Anyway, we must trust them and speculate no more.
The topic of sex in space has been hotly debated to clarify its potential impact on human beings in the isolated, confined, and hazardous space environment. Past discussions often included attempts to determine the veracity of speculations (e.g., about the STS-47 mission, on which married astronauts Mark C. Lee and Jan Davis flew), and even hoaxes, such as Document 12-571-3570. Experts such as Princeton astrophysics professor Dr. J. Richard Gott consider humanity’s expansion into space crucial to survival, but it was considered taboo for decades of spacefaring exploration history.
Taboo? This may work as long as the current primitive space flight technology won’t go obsolete. Because burning two thousand tons of fuel to place five in the orbit is nothing like space conquest or colonization. But stop and think about more appropriate transportation technologies, capable to make feasible colonies on Moon or Mars. Think at the colonists. They will colonize in couples, or families, the same way Europeans colonized America.
I’m not sure if the rolling or pitching of old caravels were helping or disturbing sex centuries ago. But zero gravity –or reduced gravity on Moon or Mars– may bring more oddities to sex than we thought of. Here’s such a though-sample picked up from the autobiography of astronaut Michael Collins, “Carrying the Fire” in 1974:
“Imagine a spacecraft of the future, with a crew of a thousand ladies, off for Alpha Centauri, with 2,000 breasts bobbing beautifully and quivering delightfully in response to every weightless movement . . . and I am the commander of the craft, and it is Saturday morning and time for inspection, naturally”.
Real mission events reported male crew members distractions at the female members’ weightless boobs. This most likely because they had no sex in space, because that is the remedy to calm men, in space or otherwise. It’s a natural occurrence: if you’re about to take your woman with you, wherever you go, then make sure to take care of her!
By the way, “Good luck, Mr. Gorsky!“