James Bond and Dr. Goodhead perform zero-g docking manuevers in the movie "Moonraker"  (Source: United Artists)
Space sex has a long way to go before it gets off the ground

Looking to penetrate deep into realms where scientists seldom explore, NASA biophysicist Tore Straume [profile] (Ames Research Center), radiation expert and particle physicist Steve Blattnig (Langley Research Center), and Cary Zeitlin [profile] (Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory), explored the logistics of sex and procreation in space.  Their conclusions?  It would be hard -- very hard.

Would-be space colonists looking to procreate in space would have it very rough, according to the report.  One of the biggest dangers would be from cosmic rays.

The high-energy protons encountered in deep space could harm male sperm.  They would also likely sterilize any human fetuses conceived in space.  The embryo would likely die during the second half of the pregnancy from these rays.

The only solution would be to adopt better protection, but mankind doesn't currently have a sufficient technology.  States Dr. Straume, "The present shielding capabilities would probably preclude having a pregnancy transited to Mars."

An even greater danger would be solar flares.  Solar flares are giant squirts of matter and energy from the sun during periods of intensely hot solar activity. These solar events would likely bombard the space explorers with even more radiation, raising their risk of miscarriage and infertility.

Also dangerous are high-energy cosmic rays that can travel millions of light years and carry tremendous energy.  Without a way to block these damaging particles, they would likely pass through the spaceship, further damaging the astronauts’ gonads.

When it comes to solar shielding, it appears scientists still have trouble getting it up to speed.  

It is unclear whether anyone has ever had sex in space.  NASA and the Soviety space agency never revealed whether they conducted tests into orbital procreation.  They have what is commonly referred to as "relationships of trust" when it comes to relations between astronauts.  One astronaut husband and wife -- Jan Davis and Mark Lee -- did share a flight together, but NASA and the astronauts would not reveal whether they got their stellar groove on.

Aside from the radiation dangers, given how hard it is to move in space, it might be hard to perform sex in a traditional manner.  But mankind has never had problems getting creative in the sack, so surely life would find a way.

The research is significant as many prominent scientific luminaries, like Steven Hawking, believe that without colonizing other worlds, mankind will likely go extinct within a few million years.

The study on sex in space was published in the peer-reviewed publication, The Journal of Cosmology and is available for free here.

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