According to this report, a British Interplanetary Society symposium addressed the problem of sexual urges of astronauts traveling on long journeys such as a three-year trip to Mars, where the six-person crew would probably include two females.
During a discussion, Dr. Rachel Armstrong stated, "NASA is talking about the chemical sterilisation of astronauts on longer journeys." However, there may be some mixed signals since a spokesman at NASA's Johnson Space Center responded yesterday "I haven't heard anything about that."
Dr. Joanna Wood, of NASA's National Space Biomedical Research Institute, noted that "Interpersonal relations is a big issue, but we leave sexual stuff to the discretion of the individuals."
Interestingly, there is no NASA ban on sex between crew members. "We depend and rely on the professionalism and good judgement of our astronauts," said a NASA spokesman in 2000. "There is nothing specifically or formally written down."Over the years, there have been rumors and unconfirmed reports of astronauts having sex in space, called joining the 200-mile-high club. French author Pierre Kohler wrote about a "confidential NASA report" that claimed the agency required two astronauts to have sex as part of tests to see how long humans could survive in space. It's also been reported that the Soviet Union claimed a milestone in 1982 when Svetlana Savitskaya shared the Salyut 7 space station with two males and conducted experiments to try to conceive in outer space. Although tantalizing, there's no evidence to support either of these stories. Nonetheless, the delicate issue of sex in space continues to trouble the scientists. According to Douglas Powell, Professor of Psychology at Harvard University,
"Like anywhere, these are normal healthy people in their prime and they are sexually active so they are going to get involved with each other. So what's going to happen in space? It's a serious question and it needs to be confronted."And, there are the tears, the broken hearts, and the euphoria of love.
. . . scientists such as Professor Powell are concerned that the emotional fallout from having a crew where some are happier than others, or where relationships are made and then fall apart, could be disastrous. He noted the comments of one Russian cosmonaut about time spent cooped up in the Mir space station that "when you have two people locked up in a very small environment for months at a time, all the conditions for murder are met." Mix in sex, and you almost have the script of Othello in space.If I read this correctly, Peter Bond is saying that people over 50 can't have "happy" times. Obviously, the spirit of Agent 007 is not with Peter Bond and continuing to make statements like that will probably meet one of the "conditions for murder" that's been mentioned.
Other scientists have suggested that the best way to ensure there is no interplanetary interplay is to crew the mission with astronauts over the age of 50. "The idea is that they won't be worried about having families and concerned about getting exposed to radiation, because they're getting towards the end of their useful working lives," explained Peter Bond, a British expert on space matters.
In summary, expect the applicant pool for astronauts to be whittled down to people over 50 who don't object to sterilization before being rocketed into nothingness for a three year voyage of great danger. Apply within.