Allegations that Space Shuttle astronauts conducted 'sex experiments' in outer space are based on an Internet hoax
February 24, 2000
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is disputing a French science writer's claim that American astronauts conducted sex experiments while orbiting the earth in the space shuttle in 1996.
Pierre Kohler, author of The Final Mission, alleges the experiments were minutely described in a top secret NASA publication identified only as "No. 12-571-3570."
The text was supposedly discovered — where else? — on the Internet.
NASA responds that no legitimate document corresponding to that number or subject matter exists, adding that the supposed title doesn't even correspond to the numbering system used by the agency to identify its publications.
'One of those urban myth things'
"It’s one of those urban myth things," NASA spokesman John Ira Petty told MSNBC News. Another NASA spokesman labeled the Internet text "fraudulent." Yet another stated, "We are not, have not and do not plan to conduct any sex experiments."
Kohler's book focuses primarily on alleged experiments conducted by cosmonauts in the USSR space program, but asserts that the United States pursued similar research. The experiments were videotaped, the author says, and the tapes subjected to rigorous analysis.
"One of the principal findings was that the classic so-called missionary position, which is so easy on earth when gravity pushes one downwards, is simply not possible," he said in an interview.
Mysterious NASA document
Unfortunately for Kohler, who has built his entire case around evidence contained in the mysterious NASA document, there's no evidence that it exists apart from references in another Internet text purportedly summarizing the document, "NASA Publication No. 14-307-1792."
In addition to the fact that the aforementioned text is obviously a put-on satirizing scientific and bureaucratic jargon, there's the teensy-weensy problem that this very document has turned up in Usenet postings dating back to 1995.
The zero-G sex experiments weren't conducted, Kohler claims, until 1996.