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NASA must study sex in space: Experts

india Updated: Jan 14, 2011 14:11 IST

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NASA must study the topic of sex in space, experts have suggested.

According to them, the US space agency has always been silent on the subject of sex in space -- how would it work? Or can a child be conceived in zero gravity?

In a chapter, titled Sex on Mars, published in the Journal of Cosmology, Dr Rhawn Joseph from Brain Research Laboratory in California has discussed everything from social conditions which would push astronauts to make love to the possibility of the first child being born on another planet.

"Human beings are sexual. They think about it a lot. So if you're on a trip to Mars, it's going to be dark out, you will be in a long period of isolation, and there's not going to be a lot to do. There's a definite possibility that it could happen," he was quoted by the Fox News as saying.

According to Dr Joseph, during a long space trip, undertaken by NASA, emotional bonds between the astronauts are likely to form -- and it would be unwise not to anticipate them acting on those bonds.

"The Antarctic is comparable to space: It's extremely cold down there and you spend a lot of time indoors. So NASA and lot of organisations think that's a great analog to what it'll be like on Mars.

"And we see that researchers will go down there for extended periods of time in these extremely hostile conditions, and women will get pregnant. It's just part of normal behaviour.

"So if you put an infant on Mars, they would adapt to varying degrees of the new environment. And after several generations, you'd have a new species," he said.

NASA doesn't take a position on sex in space.

According to the "Astronaut Code of Professional Responsibility", astronauts are expected to adhere to "a constant commitment to honourable behaviour", but NASA won’t go much further than that.

Michael Finneran, a spokesman for NASA Langley Research Center, said: "NASA is not currently engaged in any initiatives to colonise Mars, and NASA's not conducting any research on sex or reproduction in space or on Mars, we are unable to provide a comment on the matter."

But Dr Joseph said: "Send husbands and wives into space to have sex and do studies on it. It's got to be done if the long range goal is to go to other planets. Science marches on."