And It's Gonna Be a Long, Long Time…

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More evidence that the "it's lonely out in space" meme articulated in Elton John's "Rocket Man" and other similarly themed pop culture offerings is endangered:

They put the first man in space, then the first tourist. Now the Russians could make one wealthy couple the first members of the 240-mile-high club.

In its latest attempt to develop space tourism, Russia is offering a pair of newlyweds the chance to swap Venice or Paris for a cosmic honeymoon on board the international space station.

For $US48 million ($65 million)—the cost of a pair of space return tickets—the couple could become the first to experience the uncharted joys of sex in zero gravity.

Somehow, that seems likely to generate more interest than Lance Bass blasting off.

And just so you know, along with highly publicized wastes of money such as launching an ancient John Glenn back into space as a "payload specialist," America's own NASA may have spent a good deal of taxpayer dollars studying the difficulty of zero-gravity sex:

In his book Living in Space, G. Harry Stine, a NASA technician who died in 1997, wrote that agency staff at the Marshall Space Flight Centre in Huntsville, Alabama, had used a buoyancy tank that simulated low-gravity conditions to test the possibilities of weightless sex.

"It was possible but difficult," he wrote, "and was made easier when a third person assisted by holding one of the others in place."

Pierre Kohler, a French scientific writer, claimed in another book that NASA had tested 20 positions by computer simulation and then arranged for two people to try the best 10 in zero gravity.

Only four were possible to reach without "mechanical assistance", according to Kohler. An elastic belt and an inflatable tunnel, like an open-ended sleeping bag, were needed for the other six.

NASA, for the record, denies ever having conducted such research. But for all of us who remember Capricorn One, such a denial simply confirms that the experiments took place.

NEXT: Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me

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  1. “Only four were possible to reach without “mechanical assistance”, according to Kohler.”

    I bet they didn’t ask teenagers. C’mon; babies get conceived in the back seats of Volkswagens. If two people really want to Boldly Go, it isn’t going to take warp drive to get them there.

  2. Anyone who has spent any time at all around graduate physics students (and I have) knows with absolute certainty that this story is completely true.

  3. I can’t comment on the story’s veracity but I don’t think Nick got the headline right. I believe the line goes:

    “And I think it’s gonna be a long, long time…

  4. I have numerous friends who work for NASA; this has been the object of much amusement for years.

  5. The vacuum of space could suck the chrome off a trailer hitch.

  6. I’m imagining vast, spherical orgies…

  7. Is there a wet spot afterwards?

  8. Also, I do not see how this is a “waste” of taxpayer funds; or at least that appears to be the implication of the write-up.

  9. I’m a physics grad student. I don’t know anybody who can confirm these stories, but they would not surprise me in the least bit. The only thing that surprises me is that nobody found a way to do all 10 positions without mechanical assistance.

    Then again, maybe the “mechanical assistance” is just a technical term for sex toys. They didn’t need the toys to do the act, but it was a lot more fun that way…

  10. Yeah, but I always wondered – how do you go to the bathroom?

    I’m imagining something with a seatbelt and a powerful vaccum.

  11. Major Tom,

    You got it right. I saw the space toilet when I was in school. It cost about 10 million to develop, and it has a seatbelt and a vacuum.

    It turns out that your GI track depends rather heavily on gravity to get the job done, so it needs assistance in mircrogravity.

    I have the sneaking suspicion that nookie in space is like nookie in a waterbed or in the shower – it seems like it would be cool until you try it.

  12. Ron: No wet spot. But you do have to be careful of floating globules. As for mechanical assistance, would that be for him, or her?

  13. There have been enough co-ed crews in space by now, Russian and American, that I have trouble believing it hasn’t been done by now.

  14. Jason avers: “I have the sneaking suspicion that nookie in space is like nookie in a waterbed or in the shower – it seems like it would be cool until you try it.”

    Shoo, boy, maybe the shower thing ain’t all it’s cracked up to be, but doing the deed on a water bed? To go any further would give H&R way too much information.

  15. Full motion or non?

  16. Since no one has mentioned it, I will: Harry Stine was a well-known science fiction writer, as well as science writer, as well as scientist, who also wrote innumerable science fact articles for Analog Science Fiction/Science Factfor about thirty years.

  17. Sex in weightlessness. Hmmm. Let me consider this.
    In water, a soft skinned, curvaceous large breasted woman will have her breasts float up into her face.

    In space, they would be going ever-which-a-way,
    and I’d think that an ambitious porno film maker might find a way to help finance Russia’s space efforts.

    Where is Howard Hughes when you need him?

  18. “and was made easier when a third person assisted by holding one of the others in place.”

    A dream come true! Maybe someday this stuff won’t be isolated to Penthouse Letters.

    “I can’t believe I’m writing this, but last night, in space..”

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