Saturday, February 28, 2009

Sex in Space and the 2Suit

Recently, my IPs and I had a discussion about the topic of sex in space. Turns out it's not as simple as all we science fiction romance writers like to make it sound. There's an extreme degree of logistics involved in doing the simplest....um, acts...in zero gravity or microgravity. Of course, many solve this complexity in novels by mean of AG (artificial gravity), but that's currently one of the fiction elements in the science fiction.

But let's stick to the contemporary topic. Why is sex in space so difficult? Well, because nothing acts in space like it does on good old gravity-enhanced Earth. Things tend to float around, like people, limbs, liquids....you get the drift (pun intended). So attempting something as simple as a kiss can send you off on an unplanned trajectory...usually in a direction away from your partner. Things can get tricky.

Though NASA astronauts have (supposedly) not done any research or experimentation in this area, sooner or later it's going to become a question for someone, somewhere. Most likely on the three-year mission to Mars.

Vanna Bonta, author of FLIGHT: A QUANTUM FICTION NOVEL has taken this research topic to heart by inventing the 2Suit which she and her husband took on a trial run in a G Force One aircraft the simulates weightlessness (ala the Vomit Comet as the NASA version was known). Their attempts were documented in a Universe series episode entitled Sex in Space.

What's a 2Suit? It's a specially designed flightsuit where the right side detaches and can be pulled forward. When your partner dons his 2Suit, the the panel of your suit can be pulled forward and velcroed to the side of his suit, while he does the same with his, fastening to yours. The outcome? Two 2suits become like one, and allow more intimate contact while velcroed together to thwart inpromptu launches in opposite directions.

How did the experiment work? Well, marginally. It took Ms. Bonta and her husband nearly all thirty seconds (the length of time they could be weightless in the parabolic flight path) just to manage one kiss before they were floored, quite literally. It seems the human species has a bit of practice to do if we're going to master an act of love in the stary, stary night.

Fun research project though, don't you think?

Check out this 9 minute video that includes the introduction to the Universe Series Sex in Space, Vanna Bonta, the 2Suit demonstration and the challenges of sex in space. It's quite an education.

6 comments:

  1. Dolphins and duct tape, bondage and zero grav. Gawd I love it. That series on sex in space really got my gears turning.
    Dawn

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  2. OH yes. Great fodder for SFR writers, don't ya think, Dawn?

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  3. One snag I thought with the suit, if all four hands are outside, you've have to do the docking with just body movements which would be hard. Luckily in my -sex in space- scene in my WIP - I can get away with a few inaccuracies because no one yet has confessed to having done it!!

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  4. Oh, good point on the suit, Flick. I think her plan was first just to keep two partners together. She'll need to invent a 2suit2 to take it from there. :)

    And I loved those scenes in your WIP, which probably gave me the idea to post on this topic.

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  5. From what I saw, the 2suits unzip on the sides at which point it becomes like one giant suit and both partners are free to move around inside.

    I think that's what Vanna Bonta meant when she said it needed testing in more prolonged microgravity. I vote for that.

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  6. What I got from the 2Suit is that once it's unzipped, partners can slip their extremities free and into the 2suit, like a closed proximity that envelops them.

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