Sex! In! Spaaaace!

This is a serious issue. No really. (Hat tip to the World in the Satin Bag)

Look, think about it: we’re on the verge of some long term space missions, and it’s only a matter of time before we have married couples in space. It’s worth knowing if conjugal relations are even, you know, possible in space. So of course we shouldn’t be surprised if NASA and Russian scientists have already put this issue to the test.

Stop snickering! Here’s a report from the Guardian:

Pierre Kohler, a respected French scientific writer, says in The Final Mission: Mir, The Human Adventure… “The issue of sex in space is a serious one… The experiments carried out so far relate to missions planned for married couples on the future International Space Station, the successor to Mir. Scientists need to know how far sexual relations are possible without gravity.”

He cites a confidential NASA report on a space shuttle mission in 1996. A project codenamed STS-XX was to explore sexual positions possible in a weightless atmosphere.

They couldn’t have added an extra X to that codename?

Twenty positions were tested by computer simulation to obtain the best 10, he says. “Two guinea pigs then tested them in real zero-gravity conditions.

And, just so we’re clear: by guinea pigs, we are referring to the metaphorical term, and not actual animal testing, right?

The results were videotaped but are considered so sensitive that even NASA was only given a censored version.


The results?

Only four positions were found possible without “mechanical assistance”. The other six needed a special elastic belt and inflatable tunnel, like an open-ended sleeping bag.

Erin is having a hard time believing that this story is anything other than a piece from the Onion. She wonders why not let human ingenuity do what comes naturally.

However, it is worth pointing out that anybody with a good understanding of physics as it relates in a zero-gravity environment could make a few educated guesses. Like: every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Indeed, I recall reading a short story entitled Love and Gravity which depicted this very problem for an unhappy newlywed couple.

Still, I’m thinking that the mechanical devices required for the six “assistance required” position require a considerable amount of testing before they’re included as necessary “equipment” for these marital missions.

Or, maybe I shouldn’t say, “mission”:

Mr Kohler says: “One of the principal findings was that the classic so-called missionary position, which is so easy on earth when gravity pushes one downwards, is simply not possible.”

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, people.

Geeks Rejoice: Jackson to film the Hobbit

It looks like Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema have resolved their differences and the hoped-for filming of the Lord of the Rings prequel of The Hobbit will proceed in the mould of the Lord of the Rings masterpiece. At least, that’s the hope. There are more details in this report from the CBC.

I’m excited at the prospect, and hope they manage to retain the look and feel of the piece (which means casting Ian McKellen as Gandalf again, as well as Andy Serkis as Gollum), but I’m a little confused about the reports that there will be two films (one released in 2010 and part two released in 2011). Why two?

If I recall my reading of The Hobbit, the book has a fraction of the complexity of even The Fellowship of the Ring, and I don’t remember any natural stopping point within the book to break the movie into two parts. So, what’s going on here? Will they be embellishing Tolkien’s story?

I hope not. Even on the commentaries Jackson noted that much as they tried to embellish the Lord of the Rings films, things always improved the closer they went back to Tolkien story.

(For further reading, check out Allyn Gibson’s take on the two Hobbit movies statement)

The Carnival of Children’s Literature

You remember the old Internet carnivals — those big link fests highlighting blogs that were blogging about a particular subject at any given moment? You don’t see as much of them as they used to be, but they’re still around. My posts on The Dream King’s Daughter are mentioned in the December Carnival of Children’s Literature over on the blog Big A little a.

There are some excellent links out there on the latest in the field of children’s literature. So have a peak, take a break from politics, and read a good novel this holiday season.

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