There's no time ? let alone place ? for sex in spaceamong professional astronauts, a veteran NASA shuttle commander said in Tokyothis week, according to press reports.
Astronaut Alan Poindexter, who commanded NASA's Aprilshuttle flight to the International Space Station, reportedly told reportersthat astronauts in space focus on the mission first, and not on each other,according to the Agence France-Press (AFP) news service.
"We area group of professionals," the AFP quoted Poindexter as saying to areporter who asked about the possibilities of sex in space during a Tokyo pressevent.
Respect forone's crewmates and for the serious job of flying in space, are key, theveteran space commander said.
"Wetreat each other with respect and we have a great working relationship.Personal relationships are not ... an issue," Poindexter said, accordingto the AFP. "We don't have them and we won't."
Poindexterand his six crewmates were in Tokyo to discuss their trip to stock up theInternational Space Station with supplies and science equipment earlier thisyear.
Bycoincidence, that mission also featured the most women in space together (four) ? agroup that included Japan's second female astronaut Naoko Yamazaki and threeNASA astronauts. [Photos: Women and Space.]
The idea ofsexual escapades in space has largely remained one of science fiction, thoughrumors have persisted since NASA started flying mixed-gender crews into spacein 1983.
In 2006,science journalist Laura Woodmansee devoted an entire book - "Sex inSpace" (Collector's Guide Publishing, Inc.) ? to the mechanics ofhypothetical romantic interludes in space while a Japanese company announcedplans in 2008 to marry couples in space on future suborbital spaceflights.
Somescientists have said that for truly interstellar spaceexploration,sex in space will be vital to keep multi-generational ships going duringspaceflights that could take decades or centuries.
WhilePoindexter stressed that intimate relationships don't occur in space,astronauts have been known to pair up from time to time on Earth.
NASA astronaut ShannonWalker,who is living on the International Space Station right now, is currentlymarried to fellow astronaut Andrew Thomas, who watched his wife launch intospace on a Russian rocket on June 15.
Othermarried NASA astronauts include: active spaceflyers Megan McArthur and RobertBehnken; former astronauts Robert "Hoot" Gibson and Rhea Seddon; SteveNagel and Linda Godwin; and Peter "Jeff" Wisoff and Tammy Jernigan. Thereare also astronaut couples in Europe and married cosmonauts in Russia.
NASAactually launched two married astronauts into space in 1992 when thethen-married Mark Kee and Jan Davis blasted off with crewmates on the spaceshuttle Endeavour. Kee and Davis separated in 1999.
Other formerlymarried couples include Steve Hawley and Sally Ride, the first American womanin space, and Ron Sega and Bonnie Dunbar.
There haveeven been love triangles involving astronauts.
In 2007,then-astronaut Lisa Nowack was arrested for allegedly attacking a romanticrival for the affections of fellow astronaut William Oefelein, a space shuttlepilot at the time. Both astronauts were U.S. Navy officers. Last year, Nowakpleaded guilty to felony burglary of a conveyance and a misdemeanor battery,and was given probation instead of jail time, ending the case.