Broadcast 4080 Dr. Alex Layendecker

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Guest:  Dr. Alex Layendecker;  Topics:  Sex in space, pregnancy, fetal development, birth and babies to children in zero to microgravity and in an enhanced radiation environment.  We discuss the concerns, implications, and risks for tourists, crew members, and space settlements.

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We welcomed Dr. Alex Layendecker to the program to discuss crew, settlement, tourist and human spaceflight that might lead to pregnancy, fetal development, childbirth and children in space, i.e. a zero-to microgravity environment with enhanced radiation risks.  We spent lots of time on a few subjects and glanced over a few more. For a concise look at the topics we covered on this show, please take a look at the tags which are repeated here: 

Tags:  Dr. Alex Layendecker, sex in space, implications for tourism/settlement, Astrosexological Research Institute (ASRI), human sexuality studies, why government support, ISS, NASA, private space stations, low gravity and neutral buoyance for fetal development, gravity prescription question, 1g baseline, guidelines for tourists/settlers, guideline enforceability, variable gravity space determination, urgency issue, micro gravity, do settlements require kids, cislunar space development, private companies actions, government mandate, risks for micro gravity high radiation fetal development/pregnancy, mission planning for pregnancy through childbirth & children, psychological risks, China/Russia sex in space actions and plans, bedrest studies applicable to sex in space concerns, gravity and fetal positioning, pushing in microgravity, Artemis and private sector stations/actors, oceans and 1g simulation, AI simulation, Cislunar high interest destination, social factors for consideration in space environment, emotions differ in space environment, liability concerns, maintaining life for space birth accidents, birth control.

A good portion of the program was devoted to pregnancy, fetal development and birth in the zero to micro gravity space environments with high radiation risks.  Since all of this is speculation given the lack of vital research, it is hard to know for sure the impact of pregnancy, fetal development and childbirth in space but from what we do know and extrapolate from here on Earth, it would be extremely risky.  Since space tourists and space settlement ticket holders might appear on the scene much sooner than we think on some human spaceflight missions, our guest and many callers spoke to the urgency to get the situation under some sort of control less we have significant human collateral damage which nobody wants. Alex talked about establishing generally accepted guidelines or rules for sex in space but others, including myself, asked about enforcement of those rules.  One suggestion was massive amounts of education for those going to space so they would act responsibly in space.  Birth control was suggested but is unproven in space so even that goes into the risk category.  Government mandates were brought up but again, without reliable enforcement, what good would a government mandate do on the way to Mars?

Another part of our discussion that stood out for me focused on the planning of the space mission.  As we all know, mass is critical and the supplies taken on board will be fine tuned for the mission regardless of it being for a hab on the Moon or Mars visit.  If sex in space, pregnancy and the like is not somehow controlled, will mission supplies be forced to include nutrition for the mom and infant, prenatal drugs, vitamins, and supplements, formula for a baby born on the mission, medication for emergency in-space surgery of some sort?  How will mission planning for this compromise mission planning with the needed essentia mission supplies.  Will there be liability exposure if such is not planned for and it happens with severe or very adverse consequences?

There were no solutions, only questions.

The same for the liability issue.  Since launch countries have liability for crew and mission, for a U.S. launched mission, would the U.S. government have liability for an at risk pregnancy, birth, a child needing special care for life or worse?  If the U.S. or another country had that ultimate liability, how might they step in to control sex in space to mitigate their liability?

In addition to listening to Alex, the callers, and the emails from listeners, do read the Space Settlement Progress blog post from early July with John Jossy and Alex that has been posted on the blog for this show and is on John's Space Settlement Progress blog.  You will find it under the name "Sex in space and its implications for space tourism and settlement."

Please post your comments/questions on our blog for this show.

You can reach Dr. Alex Layendecker through The Space Show or his website, Astrosexological Research Institute (ASRI).




Research on sex in space, microgravity fetal development and more

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27 Aug 2023 Dr. Alex Layendecker
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