Tuesday, July 22, 2008

COLUMN: Space Nookie

You know, you guys should be thankful I'm around.

Don't get me wrong. Our team of journalists around these parts is second to none. Still, occasionally they miss the big story. It's okay - I've got their backs.

Take last week for instance. While our paper was mired in boring blabbity-blah like the Presidential campaign, the collapse of the mortgage industry and the usual handful of tragedies, REAL news was being overlooked. But thanks to my super-training (definition: I took a journalism class once. Grade: B,) I was able to perform meticulous research (definition: pointing browser to Drudgereport.com and left-clicking) to discover a threat to our very way of existence that our paper strangely missed.

The blood drained from my face as I stared at the headline in shock and disbelief (I'm NOT making this up):


One small step for man, one giant skeezy leap for professional journalism. Now folks, don't get alarmed. There's no need to take to the streets or hoard up on supplies. The human race is tough, and we'll find the will to carry on. I know that of all the worries we face in life -- be it political unrife, economic instability, the rising cost of health care, whatever -- the most troubling issue is clearly that of space nookie. Will it happen? Has it happened? Will I one day be able to watch it on Cinemax? Is it, in fact, inevitable?

The answer, according to a recent article on Space.com picked up by eleventy billion newspapers and websites, appears to be yes.

when I was a kid, I remember what the future would be like according to cartoons and bad B-movies. Science fiction assured me that I could look forward to a life of cryogenic sleeping tubes, flying cars, light sabers, and perhaps even a world run by apes. Well, I've got to tell you, thus far the future's been a bit of a let-down. Thirty-seven years of waiting and I've yet to set a phaser to stun, discover that these are not the droids I'm looking for, or eat a can of soylent people. What a bummer.

But perhaps there's hope. The little kid me once dreamt of hitting a home run all the way into orbit. The adult me now wonders if I can get a home run while IN orbit.

I joke, but this was an honest-to-gosh serious article quoting an "expert." If nothing else, this clearly indicates that I chose the wrong major in college. How exactly does one become an expert in space sex? All I know is THAT person gets an automatic invite to any of my future dinner parties.

Apparantly there are a couple of private firms out there that are, as I type, building crafts to take people up on private tourist flights into outer space. And these firms announced this month that, for the low price of $2.3 million dollars, you can have a space wedding. And, the article goes on to reason, it's not much of a leap in evolution to go from space weddings to, well, the zero-g mambo in the universe's most expensive Fanta-suite.

Why this is a pressing matter to anyone other than the firms that stand to make $2.3 million off your ridiculousness is beyond me. If your relationship is such that the only remaining way to spice things up involves sending your partner quite literally to the Moon, perhaps it's time for some counseling. Seeing as how I get queasy on a Tilt-A-Whirl, I'll take my chances on the ground, thanks.

Yet the article infers that there are real scientists looking at this as a real issue worth studying. With manned flights to Mars and places unknown on the horizon, future astronauts could be looking at flights lasting for months and months, and apparantly that's a heck of a long time to chill out in close quarters without someone finally giving up and putting on a Barry White record.

The closest comparison that the experts offer are the research stations on the polar icecaps. At the south pole, 200 researchers are routinely stationed for six-month stretches without daylight or visitors. The article notes that, before this year's isolating Antarctic winter darkness reached the McMurdo Station, the research base received a shipment -- of 16,500 condoms.

Hmm... let's do the math. That's 16,500 divided by 200 people divided by 6 months which -- carry the 1 -- comes out to A WHOLE LOTTA STUFF WE CAN'T TALK ABOUT in a family newspaper. Moral of the story: Apparantly, you can't fight human nature no matter WHERE you are.

So space sex is on its way. Heck, for all we know, it's already been happening. When asked, NASA issued the writer of the article a terse no-comment. So the next time the world's getting you down -- when it seems like the economy and the government and the crime and the hardships can get no worse -- just take a moment, breathe, look up to the stars... and listen for some Barry White.

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