×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

NASA Tackles Ethics of Deep-Space Exploration

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the triage-a-long-way-from-home dept.

NASA 456

TheTony writes "With long-term projects like manned Mars exploration on the horizon, NASA has begun discussing previously taboo subjects. Ethical and practical questions involving illness, death, genetic profiling, and astronaut relations and behavior in space need to be addressed, as NASA begins to consider new policies with these extended missions in mind." From the article: "One topic that is evidently too hot to handle: How do you cope with sexual desire among healthy young men and women during a mission years long?"

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

456 comments

Use the air lock (4, Funny)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954181)

If jettisoning was good enough for Spock then it's good enough for the rest of them.

No need for airlocks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18954409)

God was making the Earth and St Peter came up and said:
"Lord, I've been looking at this universe of yours".
"Yes?"
"This earth you have down there."
"Yes?"
"It doesn't seem right. Earth has everything, sunshine, sea coasts, Yvonne Elliman, verdant green plant life, and the other planets have nothing"
God waved a dismissive hand:
"Don't worry Peter. Wait until you see what kind of people I'm going to put there."

How to handle... (2, Funny)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954187)

"One topic that is evidently too hot to handle: How do you cope with sexual desire among healthy young men and women during a mission years long?"

Easy, make a hole in the spaceship at waist height.
Their finger will be too small and there are no Inanimate Carbon Rods to save the day.

-273 degrees of spaceness is enough to dampen the desire of all but the most eager.

Re:How to handle... (4, Funny)

Random BedHead Ed (602081) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954255)

That's it: you've hit upon an even better solution right in your proposal. The key to maintaining relationships in space is ... this inanimate carbon rod!

Easy (5, Insightful)

jackhererUK (992339) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954193)

I would have thought that the best way to cope with sexual desire among healthy young men and women during a mission years long would be for them to have sex with each other ;-)

Re:Easy (2, Funny)

physburn (1095481) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954263)

Yes, they should take a pornstar or two on the mission and licence the movie footage to one of the major porn labels. The sales would probably pay for a major part of the mission. The only problem would be the titles which will be more excruciating than triple anal. Things like, Butt Wreck: Where no man has come before. I serious actually, it would be a good idea, and will probably be done in an orbitting hotel someday. But Nasa is of course too prudish to let it happen.

Re:Easy (5, Informative)

Hennell (1005107) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954271)

Whilst that might solve that problem, it creates a whole lot more. This article [msn.com] details some of the complications that the physics of zero gravity might bring.
---
My habit of ending sentences with prepositions is over.
---

Re:Easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18954297)

the physical problems have been solved for thousands of years, its called bondage, look on bittorrent for some videos, and use your imagination as to a possible "solution" to this "problem" that uses bondage, i know, its not that hard...

Re:Easy (2, Interesting)

PopeOptimusPrime (875888) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954287)

Sex raises some interesting questions:
What about space pregnancy?
...
Do they have coat-hangers and back-alleys in space?

Re:Easy (5, Insightful)

utnapistim (931738) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954589)

What about space pregnancy?

Pregnancy should be a definite "NO" - I think. That is not only due to lack of data (it is difficult to estimate the problems in evolution of an embryo in 0G), but for the actual birth, and what comes after it.

Considering that getting _privacy_ is still an issue, having a sterile environment for a birth sounds prohibitive, as does raising a newly born in space (at the moment). You have to think about special food, diapers (or something similar), a baby crying at all hours and breaking the awake/rest pattern of the crew, radiation effect on a newborn and probably two dozen other problems I cannot think about.

Pregnancy in space should be at least a few decades in the future, to have some decent estimates for a healthy baby/crew/mission success.

That means that -at the moment - any decision taken regarding sex on a space mission should take into account some good way(s) of preventing any pregnancy.

Re:Easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18954371)

Yeah... Just post the job ad on adultfriendfinder!
Or get a space hooker for the whole crew.

Re:Easy (-1, Troll)

j35ter (895427) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954559)

Yes but how will you explain a god-fearing nation that their ambassadors to mars turned their spaceship into a merry swinger club?

even easier (5, Funny)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954667)

Send geeks into space, everyone knows geeks are too interested in other things to bother about having sex.

Re:Easy (1)

Gregb05 (754217) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954685)

I'm honestly wondering if the topic was even considered "too hot to handle", or just obvious enough not to mention.

Shoot up couples that have been in a relationship for a long time. If they pass the other psychological tests, then they're deemed sane enough to get shot up into space in a metal tube for about a year by themselves. I don't see why having a spouse or long term partner along for the trip would make it more of a hassle.

Fuck man, these people are given chores to do by NASA anyhow, it's not like she can nag you to mow the lawn or get off /.

No sex please... (3, Insightful)

pubjames (468013) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954199)

How do you cope with sexual desire among healthy young men and women during a mission years long?

Put something in their tea. I believe they used bromide to suppress the sexual urges of soldiers during the first world war.

But really, is this that big a problem? I believe it's not difficult to chemically suppress sexual urges.

Re:No sex please... (2, Funny)

fazil (62946) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954257)

Actually, it was Saltpeter

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potassium_nitrate (3, Informative)

weierstrass (669421) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954289)

A popular misconception is that potassium nitrate is an anaphrodisiac and was added to food in all-male institutions. In fact, potassium nitrate has no such effect in humans.

Re:No sex please... (4, Interesting)

mi (197448) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954317)

Put something in their tea. I believe they used bromide to suppress the sexual urges of soldiers during the first world war.

That only worked, because there weren't many females in close proximity. If you interact with them daily, no chemical will help much.

Personally, I think, they should pick swingers [wikipedia.org] for the mission — there will be no reproductive sex on board, so the partners need no particular attachment to each other (as parents-to-be should have). Swingers, who change partners easily, supposedly, can enjoy the physical aspect of it without "drama"...

Finding capable astronauts, who are also into swinging, may be difficult, though...

Re:No sex please... (2, Informative)

asninn (1071320) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954387)

That only worked, because there weren't many females in close proximity. If you interact with them daily, no chemical will help much.

Not *all* humans are heterosexual men, thankyouverymuch...

Re:No sex please... (1, Informative)

Architect_sasyr (938685) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954569)

No some of them are heterosexual women... and some are homosexual women... and if you get REALLY lucky you might find yourself some bi-sexual women.

Between them and the heterosexual men, we've covered the entire human race ;)

-1 Flamebait here I come...

Re:No sex please... (1)

Xyrus (755017) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954659)

Send male and female prostitutes along for the ride (scanned and screened of course). The astronauts themselves wouldn't have to pay, as they would be on "salary".

Well paid, and well laid. Nothing wrong with that.

~X~

Re:No sex please... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18954369)

1. The erection is prevented not the sexual urge.
2. No way to enforce taking pills.

Re:No sex please... (2, Informative)

Terminal Saint (668751) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954611)

Actually, my understanding is that the old "they're putting stuff in the food so I can't get it up" myth is a result of stress. It's not at all uncommon that a soldier in basic or combat to be so physically and emotionally stressed that they are unable to preform. This is quite normal, however, the male ego refuses to believe this, so it clearly must be the result of outside interference, like the REMFs putting something in the food.

And a quick search shows my memory serves me: http://www.snopes.com/military/saltpetr.htm [snopes.com]

First Post! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18954209)

First Post!

Answer? Glory Holes.

Think of the mess! (1)

TheBigGit (1020639) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954219)

They must have little wank bags or something, or the UFOs inside the craft will be scarier than anything else outside!

How to deal with sexual desires? (4, Funny)

apathy maybe (922212) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954237)

Three simple possible ways, (ranked in order of preference).
One, don't send people, send robots.
Two, only send people who do not cling to the outdated notion of monogamy and who are also bi-sexual (or at least bi-curious).
Three, castrate and/or otherwise remove the people's sexual desires (there are chemicals that will do only while they are being taken, and when they are stopped being taken, they stop working and everything goes back to normal). With this one, the chemicals would have to be put in the food, otherwise the folk won't take 'em...

Similarly, with death you can also fix any problems, but
One, sending robots.
I'm sure there are other ways (make sure that everyone is mentally well adjusted and so on), but everyone lies on psych tests. (Read Blue Mars.)
Actually, now I've just read the article. What to do with dead bodies ...
Feed them back into the organic system, feed them into the power plant, throw them out the airlock. What else is there to do? Keep them in storage until the ship gets back to Earth?

Three possible choices: (1)

Kymri (1093149) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954243)

1) Carefully profile and select for asexual individuals. (Yeah, right - as if the selection requirements for the crew for an interplanetary mission aren't tight already... assuming you even *can* positively select for this.

2) Do your best to create a sexually-compatible crew and hope for the best.

3) While signing various waivers and forms, have a 'celibacy pledge'. I'm sure the White House would approve.

Well... (2, Insightful)

Centurix (249778) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954249)

Just let them fuck each other stupid. Christ, how hard is that? At least it'll pass the time until they get to Pluto or wherever the hell they're going.

Why does NASA find it so difficult (1)

maroberts (15852) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954261)

The answers are surely a mix of the refrain from party trips abroad and Bloodhoungd Gang lyrics:

a) What happens on tour stays on the tour
b) We ain't nuffin but mammals so let the do it like on the Discovery channel.

Couples? (4, Insightful)

HateBreeder (656491) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954265)

Why not just send married couples?

Seems simple when you think about it...

Re:Couples? (4, Insightful)

pubjames (468013) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954307)

Why not just send married couples?

Do you think any marriage could survive the couple being together 24 hours a day in an enclosed space for several years?

Re:Couples? (1)

g2devi (898503) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954411)

Sure. More than a few couples have done this successfully.

The trick is to find couples with the right personality types. For instance, introverted couples with a deep passion for some solitary pursuit (e.g. music, programming, writing, video games) would likely fair a lot better than extroverted couples that need to socialize and do group activities.

Re:Couples? (5, Interesting)

kasin (44122) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954545)

I work with my wife in the same room, metres away. I am her boss. We are within metres of each other nearly 24 hours a day.

The secret? Knowing when the other person needs personal space and giving it to them. Same house, different headphones.

Re:Couples? (1)

Mike1024 (184871) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954629)

Do you think any marriage could survive the couple being together 24 hours a day in an enclosed space for several years?

One would think this could be determined experimentally on earth. Hell, it could be self-funding with a reality TV show. Big Brother, but no evictions, three years long, and with highly educated, extremely fit, fighter pilots.

Re:Couples? (2, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954321)

It also partially solves, the jealousy problem.

The problem isn't sex in space, but relationships in space. nasa hasn't figured out that part yet, how much you want to bet they screw it up?

Re:Couples? (1)

dsanfte (443781) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954389)

Except when all the media attention turns their relationship into a 'celebrity marriage'. No relationship lasts long without basic privacy.

Here's one sure method... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18954267)

"How do you cope with sexual desire among healthy young men and women during a mission years long?"

Turn them into /. readers. Then they can just 'moon' about the subject for literally decades without making any changes in their lives to accomplish their desires.

Story in the Wrong Section (5, Funny)

ettlz (639203) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954273)

One topic that is evidently too hot to handle: How do you cope with sexual desire among healthy young men and women during a mission years long?
Shouldn't this be filed under "Ask Slashdot"?

Only on slashdot... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18954591)

would the vast majority of the readership not know the obvious answer to this question. Guys need to bust a nut every now and then. It helps them relax and allows them to maintain focus on their work. Why is so much angst wrapped up in a natural pressure-release mechanism? It's a fact of life, so deal with it people. If we'd all stop pretending that this wasn't so, then we'd be alot better off.

Re:Story in the Wrong Section (1)

Ubi_NL (313657) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954615)

Shouldn't this be filed under "Ask Slashdot"?
because there the audience is highly experienced on the subject you mean?
Most people here think sex can be downloaded.

the answer has been given about 1400 years ago (2, Interesting)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954277)

How do you cope with sexual desire among healthy young men and women during a mission years long?
The answer [usc.edu] Volume 7, Book 62, Number 3 (Sahih Bukhari)

Narrated 'Alqama:

While I was with Abdullah, 'Uthman met him at Mina and said, "O Abu 'Abdur-Rahman ! I have something to say to you." So both of them went aside and 'Uthman said, "O Abu 'Abdur-Rahman! Shall we marry you to a virgin who will make you remember your past days?" When 'Abdullah felt that he was not in need of that, he beckoned me (to join him) saying, "O 'Alqama!" Then I heard him saying (in reply to 'Uthman), "As you have said that, (I tell you that) the Prophet once said to us, 'O young people! Whoever among you is able to marry, should marry, and whoever is not able to marry, is recommended to fast, as fasting diminishes his sexual power.
So the answer is clear: if men and women go on a long flight, they either should marry each other, or men should fast (in that case men and women should be segregated on different spaceships).

Re:the answer has been given about 1400 years ago (1)

Kierthos (225954) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954425)

You know, the Star Trek answer given below is actually slightly more useful.

Star Trek answer... (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954281)

How do you cope with sexual desire among healthy young men and women during a mission years long?

By beaming down to the nearest planet and finding the sexy green alien babes...

Once again, Star Trek shows us the way forward.

Obligatory (5, Funny)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954283)

"One topic that is evidently too hot to handle: How do you cope with sexual desire among healthy young men and women during a mission years long?"

A: Spend $100,000,000 developing high tech, er, appliances that work in zero gravity, then brace for the ensuing scandal when it emerges that the Russians just used pencils...

Alternatively, recruit more nerds and less jocks. Why not advertise on Slashdot?

Re:Obligatory (2, Informative)

Dan East (318230) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954349)

You're probably being being facetious, but I'll be a stick in the mud anyway: that's an urban legend [snopes.com].

Dan East

Re:Obligatory (2, Funny)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954565)

but I'll be a stick in the mud anyway

That is, of course, a valid solution, but it might not suit everybody. :-)

Healthy? (2, Funny)

$pearhead (1021201) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954331)

How do you cope with sexual desire among healthy young men and women during a mission years long?
What's healthy got to do with anything? Wouldn't sexual desire among diseased be more of a problem?

Dumping bodies not such a good idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18954337)

If you dump a dead body out of the airlock, doesn't that completely change the timing of the trip? It must fuck with things like re-entry and that cool gravity slingshot trick they always talk about in movies.

My rampantly uninformed guess is that dumping a body requires that you first work out the amount of food that person ate, how much will now go uneaten, the current mass of your "spaceship", its mass after dumping the body, and a whole bunch of other stuff. And to avoid necessitating an unscheduled burn to return the ship to its course after jettisoning the body, you would have to merely place it outside the ship (presumably in some container) without actually pushing it off in any direction, which means you get a nice look at your dead friend's space coffin every time you look through the window for the next however many months.

Re:Dumping bodies not such a good idea (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954437)

There is merit here. A radical change in the mass of the ship would be a real problem. However, one astronaut just isn't that much. My take is that you can either push them out the airlock (the force of a good push will move the body easily into escape velocity from the vehicle). Or strap on some sort of minor propulsion (some sort of can of air or the like). It'll be a minor matter to correct the trajectory for the change in momentum and aside from the mass of the missing deceased astronaut, you won't see any other significant change in mass. The food eaten or not eaten becomes waste products stored on the vehicle so there's no mass change there.

Good question (2, Funny)

jandersen (462034) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954347)

How do you cope with sexual desire among healthy young men and women during a mission years long?

You mean you don't know?

Re:Good question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18954419)

This is Slashdot. That question is valid here.

Re:Good question (2, Funny)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954495)

I seem to remember it has to do with bees and flowers... Wouldn't that be a problem in space ?

To trot or to rot (1)

delire (809063) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954363)

One topic that is evidently too hot to handle: How do you cope with sexual desire among healthy young men and women during a mission years long?

Short of neutering them, you can do little other than give them contraception, a little privacy (difficult) and train them in emotionally and socially managing the consequences of swinging widely and/or irresponsibly - it would be of primary importance to avoid the onset of sexual jealousy. This will call for a new kind of training, that they are also fit of mind and heart.

Suppressing the primary biological drive of crew will surely only make them falter in flight and/or grow mad.

why young? (1)

lovebyte (81275) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954373)

> "One topic that is evidently too hot to handle: How do you cope with sexual desire among healthy young men and women during a mission years long?"
What about:

One topic that is evidently too disgusting to handle: How do you cope with sexual desire among OLD men and women during a mission years long?

(Why did I think of that?)

Space sex? (1)

stinkbomb (238228) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954381)

"One topic that is evidently too hot to handle: How do you cope with sexual desire among healthy young men and women during a mission years long?"


I think the healthy young men and women will be able to cope with that problem just fine without NASA's help.

Good hands (4, Funny)

Alioth (221270) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954397)

Just choose astronauts with good hands.

Sex is like bridge, after all. You don't need a partner if you have a good hand.

How does WHO deal with it? (2, Interesting)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954403)

Healthy men and women don't have a problem dealing with it. NASA seems to be the one with the problem. Let the healthy young men and women radio down "Houston, you have a problem down there. Deal with it. Now mind your own fucking business," and then shut off the cameras. Jesus H Christ on a pogo stick, NASA proudly shows off every new version of the zero G toilet, and they expect people to shit in it with nothing but a paper thin wall and a few inches between them and the rest of the crew, but the very thought of those same people fucking sends them into a tizzy. That's some sick and twisted thinking. I wouldn't trust them to tell me what I should do about my sex life. How the hell can these people talk about colonizing planets but have so much trouble with people making babies, or at least practising at it?

Re:How does WHO deal with it? (3, Interesting)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954483)

These questions are proof positive that humans are still immature... the truth is you make it an ethical requirement of an requirement to be an astronaut to not bow to animal prejudices, and by animal prejudices I mean drama nad political bullshit, not going without sex.

To develop programs to rid people of nervous system agitation and make people face their fears and prejudices and understand the source of their likes / dislikes, etc:

--Develop programs that expose people to tearing down their dislike / prejudice of others
--Look into religions and other meditative traditions as binding principles.

Many people have gone without sex for years for religious and other reasons (will power, etc) it's not as hard as people make it out to be. What needs to be done is making them aware that their animal nervous system (i.e. their "personal likes / dislikes") are not sacred...

They have to have the wisdom not to temper there spirits... the fact is thats what the really need to do.

Re:How does WHO deal with it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18954599)

Had you read the article, you'd realize that it's not that it's "too hot to handle", just that it's not being considered as a health issue the same as someone getting sick in an area with no doctors and where a radio message to mission control won't be answered immediately.

You wouldn't trust them to tell you what to do with your sex life? Then they probably won't trust you to fly on their billion dollar spacecraft. You think an astronaut getting pregnent on a mission to Mars might not cause problems? NASA has policies and procedures for just about everything, like I said, it's not that it's "too hot to handle", but there are a lot of considerations in sending humans for a long trip into space.

Very Nice (1)

Markavian (867505) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954429)

At the end of the article, "it's very nice that they're considering it now."... maybe so, but it sure would be nasty if they had to post a terminally ill astronaut home, kill them on the spot, or dump the body in an asteroid field...

... are they considering bringing them back home?

Sex in space (3, Funny)

SpinyNorman (33776) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954435)

How do you cope with sexual desire among healthy young men and women during a mission years long?

Having put some considerable thought into this matter, I've come to the conclusion that strapping yourselves together with bungee cords would be the best way to cope.

The answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18954445)

How do you cope with sexual desire among healthy young men and women during a mission years long?
Sexy android love-partners. Please can we get NASA to fund the development of sexy androids? I mean one of the justifications for spending all this R&D money is that it eventually benefits the general public. We got non-stick frying-pans, now I want a sexy android. For, um, cleaning and stuff.

Cybersex (1)

Down_in_the_Park (721993) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954451)

it was so promising in the 90ths why not revamp it,you get a 3D-display, a data-glove and off you go...If we go to space, we could as well go to cyberspace, about time...

What about the dead and the ill ? (1)

steveoc (2661) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954475)

Whilst there are plenty of suggestions about the sex question, nobody wants to touch the illness issue.

What is needed is a whole new code of morality or religion even.

The dead and the seriously ill should of course be fed into the fusion reactors as fuel .. or recycled into food, or used as material for scientific experiments. .. but what we need is a moral code that makes the answers to these questions obvious.

NASA should employ some anthropoligsts, artists, theologians and great writers of fiction. They should apply part of their budget to writing the "Great Book of K'harg Ry'Gah", which tells of the
origins of the universe, the ongoing struggles between the council of K'Harg and the dark forces beyond the hyperhorizon, and the prophesies regarding the coming awakening of the Great Nameless One .. whereupon all matter will be recycled back to its source.

At this point, group sexual activities, cannibalism, the study of the tissues of dead friends, and compulsory gay/bi dance clubbing at regular intervals will be not distractions, but religious sacraments sanctioned and policed by the moral social structures of the group.

The need to ram one up that hot blonde in the shiny silver suit who is bending over to tend the solient green machine will not be a thought wracked with guilt - it will be a religious duty, since you would both be following in the footsteps of the Great Prophet Al'Juramaba (Peace be unto his name), who on the 177th day of his fasting on the 3rd moon of Kol'Rurgh .. did enter into a physical union with his six legged sand camel .. and did so in the name of the 7 daughters of Grand Counsellor Chig'Widden .. where upon the worm hole threatening the sector and all its resources was finally closed.

Stranger In A Strange Land (4, Funny)

snitty (308387) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954485)

Heinlein had a solution: send couples. Of course, then they cheat on each other, have illegitimate babies, die on mars, their son is then raised by Martians and comes back to earth and starts a cult, and gets stoned to death. On second though, maybe sending couples isn't the best idea.

Step 1: Change society (1)

Hektor_Troy (262592) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954499)

The main problem (as I see it) is that society seems to have a problem with people being sexually active - especially the women. After all, if men go out and have sex with four women in one night, we're cool cats, but if a woman has sex with four men in one night, she's a sleezy tramp and a cheap whore.

Someone mentioned swingers, but seems to think that they'll nail anything that walks, which isn't the case. They still need people they're sexually attracted to, and that their partners are okay with.

What they need is to find people who aren't just fit for the task, but are also mentally prepared for situations where they're constantly around women (women rarely have a problem being around men all the time - it's men that have the problem with those urges), who aren't prone to jealousy, who don't buy in to the whole preconceived notion of "one person for life", and who's not too worried about sharing sexual partners with others (doesn't have to be at the same time though).

Sure, this doesn't stop people from falling in love and getting their feelings hurt, but reasonable people can cope with that - even when they're stuck with the same people constantly.

In other words, what they really need is a public and astronauts who aren't uptight against casual sex with random partners. Personally I think you'll find the biggest problem with society.

Re:Step 1: Change society (2, Insightful)

Misagon (1135) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954679)

[i](women rarely have a problem being around men all the time - it's men that have the problem with those urges)[/i]

That is sexist, generalizing, b.s, if you ask me.

NASA overlooks the obvious (0)

erroneus (253617) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954511)

Astronaut porn would pay for the trip there, back and probably make a tidy profit on top of that. Seriously.

Re:NASA overlooks the obvious (1)

xheliox (199548) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954655)

Off topic: How do you know Bob Farris? I saw a post of yours that mentioned his questionable business practices -- I hear that.

Marriage (1)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954525)

"How do you cope with sexual desire among healthy young men and women during a mission years long?"

Be sure to send married couples. That'll drive the sexual desire to the ground.

A tricky subject. (5, Insightful)

niktemadur (793971) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954531)

How do you tackle the sex in our space program issue in a society with so many hangups and hypocrisies about it?

Think about it, you're cooped up in a limited space with several roommates, an extremely stressful environment, even though there is an individual and collective sense of higher purpose in a manned space mission. But I still think there needs to be...um...release, not just physical (masturbation), but emotional (intercourse). Physical contact is a crucial part of a healthy body and mind.

My solution would probably never be accepted, particularly after the driving from Texas to Florida in diapers fiasco, but here goes:
After extensive psychological screening, accept the super balanced and respectful individuals who are comfortable with a couple-swapping scenario, a collective zero G free love kinda thing. Open minded individuals are way more relaxed than uptight ones, so that would be a plus when you're in a capsule for months if not years. But you probably couldn't tell the US public about it.

Of course, it's likely they'll contemplate going the opposite way and giving the astronauts some sort of medication that suppresses the libido, which in my opinion would be inhumane, not to mention unnecessary.

But then again, like I said, the US is a prudish society. Do we really want prudes to lead the way for humanity?

Death in space. That's gonna be nasty. They'll likely never allow jettisoning the body into space, as it's the body of a hero that deserves the full honors. Remember, the US makes an extra effort to pull the bodies of KIA soldiers from combat zones.
A friend of mine is an astrophysicist and participated in the great neutrino hunt a couple of decades ago in a mine shaft in Alaska during the winter. One of the colleagues died, but they were shut in until weather allowed for a helicopter pickup, so they ended up storing the colleague in the meat freezer. My friend still has occasional nightmares about it, almost twenty years on.

Illness. I can think of nothing more horrifying that being a woman two months out into space, examining myself in the shower and finding a lump in my breast. So antioxidants, vitamin supplements, etc, will have to be an essential part of the rigorous diet, probably organic (no McDonald's for you mister/missus) for a couple of years before the launch. How about a daily glass of red wine and lots of garlic, too?

If NASA tackles the health problem with the same fervor that they tackled the issues surrounding the Moon program, something much better than Tang or Velcro will eventually trickle down to the general public: great advancements in preventive medicine. And who knows what else.

Damn, these issues are fascinating.

Re:A tricky subject. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18954721)

Death in space should be no different than death at sea. Instead of wrapping the body in with some iron scrap and plopping it into the deep, you would duct tape an aerosol can to the body point it in the desired direction and puncture the can.

Fascinating human psychology... (1)

It doesn't come easy (695416) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954541)

...to note that we (or at least NASA) cannot debate openly about the single most talked about and thought about and influential subject in human history.

Spay them all :) (2, Funny)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954555)

Well one way to handle the sexual desire problems is to neuter them. I would hope that as a people, especially highly trained as astronauts are, that sex isn't going to be a pressing issue for them on a long term journey. Even if so, send married couples, or send singles, don't mix it up. You could also try drugs to suppress the desires as well. It may also depend on the mission as well. One other note, if we as a specie cannot operate sensibly in space, which can include safe sex, they why are we there?

As for critical injuries, these are all professionals, many were test pilots. While some may never have served in the military they already know the risk their profession brings. If you set out the rules ahead of time they will accept their fate should it become an issue. If anything your going to have to deal with more of the non-critically injured wanting to break the rules to save a dieing friend than the other way around.

As for surgery to prevent possible medical complications, thats a mess. You would have to study both the population at large as well as the astronauts family history to see which issues they are prone too.

As for a dead astronaut. Bets are many would prefer to be buried at space if they have no immediate families at home. Still I cannot see why they cannot be ziplocked and stored in a cold but pressurized area of the ship. The only real negative is the emotional stress placed on the remaining crew having a corpse along, a corpse of a friend.

Obvious answer (2, Funny)

olman (127310) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954567)

Do what you do to tomcats.

Just put relevant legalese into the astronaut EULA pg 27.

About the whole Sex thing. . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18954601)

Ok. They go and have sex with each other and solve that problem. They're ok with that.

What about pregnancy?

Fail20rs! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18954617)

direct orders, or Darren Reed, w_hich

Self financing? (1)

niceone (992278) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954631)

How do you cope with sexual desire among healthy young men and women during a mission years long?"

film it to fund the mission?

/.ers maybe ideal candidates after all (1)

andyh3930 (605873) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954669)

IIRC that after the NASA incident with unfortunate female astronaut who had the nervous breakout at attempted to kill another women, NASA stated they needed to re-evualate what kind of psyche is best suited for space work, while high-achieving goal orientated people are best suited for short term missions, more introverted people, who have are more adaptable may be better for long term work. So instead of having feelings of failure when things don't work, just think meh and think of a workaround. Also they will be quite happy to sit quietly and read or contemplate things; so IT types maybe just the ticket. And they'll have avoided the sex problem too!!

Two Words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18954675)

Real Doll

What about radio lag? (2, Informative)

KTorak (860467) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954691)

If any complications do occur, there will be a half hour lag between questions and answers between mission control and the crew. That definitely posses problems in an emergency, especially a time critical one such as a pregnancy, heart attack, etc.

It's so simple it's brilliant (1)

spiers (1096303) | more than 6 years ago | (#18954701)

Why doesn't NASA hire the production staff from either Big Brother or Real World, any spaceship would already be filled with camera's, between a weekly show and internet sales the mission would virtually fund itself! As for illness, any long term mission would surely include a large crew and include at least a couple folks who have medical experience, with some of the new long reach operation technology available to surgeons currently the "expertise" could easily exist on the ground with the hands and eyes on the ship needing only a basic knowledge. Assuming of course there was no significgant delay in data/video transmission. I reasonable incinerator would be easy to install, take up little space and be equiped to recover the usuable elements while the remaining ashes could be stored for transport back.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...