NASA rethinking (sex and) death for Mars mission

The link to this article reads, “NASA rethinking sex and death for Mars mission.” However, get to the article, and the headline mentions only death: “NASA rethinking death in mission to Mars.”

But just when you thought you’d been baited and switched, comes this section:

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?

Sex is not mentioned in the document and has long been almost a taboo topic at NASA. Williams said the question of sex in space is not a matter of crew health but a behavioral issue that will have to be taken up by others at NASA.

Ha: “too hot to handle” . . . yeah, the NASA prudes don’t dare touch that one. Too busy with their pocket protectors and slide rules, I guess.

Walker Percy includes a lengthy section in Lost in the Cosmos dedicated to the problems of manning a long-term space mission. Do you choose the Burt Reynolds/Shirley MacLaine type crew? The inseparable, middle-aged homebody lesbians? The San Fran homos? Or the lapsed Catholic/militant feminist crew? Great fun.

I took a poll of undergraduates and they overwhelmingly favored the lesbian crew. Why? Because Percy said they were “excellent astronauts” and “highly cultivated.” However, being a good astronaut, a poet, and a historian may not help with the ultimate goal of the mission, which is to establish relations with ETIs (Extra Terrestrial Intelligences). The lesbians might not be the best choice if you want a crew able to accurately represent the majority of the human race. I say go with the lapsed Catholic . . . at least he’ll probably call a spade a spade when he’s dragged before the alien tribunal.

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