Since the time immemorial humanity has been captivated by space. From sending spacecraft to investigate asteroids to deploying rovers on Mars, our fascination has extended to lunar missions, culminating in the upcoming Artemis III mission—an endeavor to send humans to the Moon for the first time since Apollo 17 in 1972.
Currently, astronauts inhabit the International Space Station, engaging in activities such as cultivating vegetables and conducting various scientific experiments. As humanity ventures into deeper space exploration, including potential missions to Mars, an unanswered question emerges: Can humans engage in sexual activity and conceive in space?
Microgravity in space makes it difficult for objects or humans to stay in one place, ruling out the logistical possibility of having sex in space. However, no scientific evidence or experiment is available to say this with certainty.
“No one has had sex in space, or at least admitted having sex in space,” Adam Watkins, an associate professor in reproductive and developmental physiology at the University of Nottingham, reported Newsweek.
Other than difficulty in staying still, sex in space may come with another issue- bodily fluids. Wherever there is microgravity, there are liquids that coalesce into spherical clumps, which are prone to flying all over the place unless quickly stopped up.
Another thing is space pregnancy. The microgravity present in space will not just make pregnancy difficult in space but may also lead to defects in the development of the foetus. “With regard to getting pregnant in space, the simple answer is no one really knows,” Watkins said.
Cutting-edge technologies can address the challenges of microgravity. Watkins proposes that employing centrifugal devices can counteract the absence of gravity, pivotal for womb development.
Moreover, for space travel to celestial bodies like Mars, Watkins recommends sending freeze-dried reproductive materials rather than pregnant individuals due to potential issues like erectile dysfunction observed in male astronauts post-space missions.
According to a study published in The FASEB Journal, the risk of erectile dysfunction is not only present when astronauts are in space, but it might also continue for a long period even after they come back to Earth.