Russian space scientists have admitted struggling to find volunteers to supply samples of their semen while living on the International Space Station. Researchers need the samples to help understand how periods in space affect our ability to reproduce. The Kremlin-backed study could help US space agency NASA and space-faring countries plan missions to explore interstellar space and even colonise other planets. However, a Kremlin space scientist has this week admitted there has been a dearth of volunteers.
Research head Dr Irina Ogneva revealed cosmonauts had politely “smiled and refused” when ordered to produce samples.
Dr Ogneva said: “We are constantly encountering obstacles of a moral, psychological and ethical nature.
“There are no willing people among the astronauts.”
The experiment is designed to study spermatogenesis – the development of sperm.
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Researchers wish to collecting semen samples from astronauts before, during and after long space flights to compare the health of their reproductive organs.
And it is the middle leg of the voyage that is the issue.
Sex and masturbation in space is known to be logistically tricky.
Problems range from suspended fluids to shrinking genitailia, according to US astronomer Dr John Millis.
Dr Millis compared sex in space to having intercourse while “skydiving”, before adding it was “not impossible.”
He said: ““The issues surrounding the act all revolve around the free-fall, micro-gravity, environment experienced by astronauts.
“Imagine engaging in sexual activity while skydiving – every push or thrust will propel you in opposite directions.
“Even the lightest touch can make it difficult to stay in contact if both persons are not properly anchored.
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“The astronauts would need to brace themselves against the space station, and even each other.
“A shared sleeping bag, or similar, would perhaps be the most useful.”
It is presumably for these reason the ISS cosmonauts are refusing to co-operate.
Dr Ogneva’s request “causes everyone to smile and reject,” she explained, adding: ”There are no cosmonauts who want to.”
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