nasa denies astronaut trysts in space
Cape Canaveral, Fla. | Feb 24, 2000 (Reuters) — The U.S. space agency vigorously denied a French astronomer's claim on Wednesday that shuttle astronauts conducted test trysts to find optimal positions for sex in zero-gravity.
"We are not, have not and do not plan to conduct any sex experiments,” said NASA spokesman Ed Campion.
Author Pierre Kohler, a French astronomer who has converted himself into a cosmic affairs commentator, said in his new book, The Final Mission, that NASA astronauts have tested the limits of stellar sex with space agency support.
Kohler cited documents posted on the Internet by a U.S. researcher, entitled NASA No. 12 571-3570. The documents describe how scientists worked with astronauts to assess the possibilities of weightless intercourse, drawing up a short list of 10 sexual positions later tested by an astronaut couple in the zero-gravity conditions of orbit, albeit in a grounded shuttle.
They found that the most conventional method falls short without gravity, he said.
"It appears the classical approach, the so-called missionary position, is an easy position only on Earth, when gravity keeps you pinned down, and that it would be ruled out in space,” says Kohler.
The experiment purportedly showed that six of the 10 trials needed props such as elastic belts or an inflatable tube similar to a sleeping bag to keep the couple tightly together. The other four positions left it to sheer muscle power.
NASA said the story and the documents are false and the numbers Kohler cited do not correspond to any numbering system it uses. "The story's not true. The document cited is fraudulent,” said Kirsten Williams, a spokeswoman at NASA's Washington headquarters.
Kohler's publisher, Calmann-Levy, told Reuters it planned to issue the book on Thursday.
Kohler concedes that NASA and other space agencies deny such “taboo” experiments, and said astronauts are also mute on the subject of human sex in orbit, even if they have conducted reproduction research on South African frogs and Japanese fish.