A real trip to Mars is a distant prospect, but that hasn't stopped space agency scientists, and plenty of less qualified commentators, speculating on the tricky issue of how our fearless pioneers will continue the human race beyond the confines of Earth. Even if you can find a willing sexual partner in space, there is still the lack of gravity to contend with.
Stories about sex in space hold a strange fascination. They crop up unannounced, sometimes several months after scientists publish their research papers. One report, which appeared in the Journal of Cosmology in October, popped up in one newspaper today. The study, by Tore Straume, the chief life scientist at Nasa's Ames Research Centre in California, looked at the effects of radiation on the brain, body and pregnancy. To grossly summarise their findings, having babies on the way to Mars – as opposed to having sex – does not look advisable.
The problem Straume and his colleagues focused on was cosmic radiation. Without the protection of the Earth's magnetic field, ... Read more>>