Yesterday I was wondering just how many condoms might be found in the 2 year old cube of garbage being brought home from the International Space Station -- a question that I was only really jokingly wondering. Then I began to think about it. Now I seem unable to stop.
At first, I started thinking about all the lonely souls living completely separated from their families. Surely there would be some small amount of zero gravity infidelity taking place -- perhaps after drinking a few too many Tang screwdrivers or following a few too many dizzying laps around the giant stationary hamster wheel. Maybe there would be a close call with a meteor after working in close quarters that would force bodily contact, thus initiating an urgently passionate tryst. Whatever the cause, capsule copulation is almost guaranteed -- I watch movies, I know how these things work.
Then my thoughts moved to an issue slightly more pressing than a mystery pregnancy at 8 million feet: imagine the completely honest, loving, faithful astronaut who doesn't have the luxury of an extra-planetary affair. His only option is to "take matters into his own hands." A few frantic moments of spasm and release later, and there's now thick milky gobs of ejaculate floating around the space station, mingling with the remnants from last night's tapioca pudding, coffee creamer, Toaster Strudel icing, ranch dressing, and country gravy.
In my mind there's no question that condoms are standard equipment on the International Space Station, and perhaps ordinary shuttle missions as well.
While reading about how the Space Shuttle is returning to Earth carrying two years worth of trash, I couldn't help but wonder something that I'm sure most people are also wondering: How many condoms do you think are in there?
That thought led me to one I hadn't thought of for probably 10 years. My friend and I were watching Moonraker and when it got to the end where James Bond is having sex in zero gravity -- bodies in missionary position, floating freely about the cabin with a silver blanket draped over them, dangling down as if gravity was there to hold it in place -- my friends sister said how impossible that scene is.
"Because," she said confidently, "There is no friction in space. Sex just won't work without friction."