A new dawn of space exploration is upon us. NASA aims to land the first woman and person of colour on the moon by the end of 2025, and send a crew on a year-and-a-half long mission to Mars in the 2030s.
To ensure a safe and pleasurable journey to the final frontier, national agencies such as NASA and private companies such as SpaceX must address both the technical and human factors associated with working and living in space. Yet, the realities of sexuality and intimacy in space are mostly omitted.
How will people be able to live for prolonged periods of time in the isolated, confined and extreme conditions of spacecrafts and other planets? How will people navigate falling in love, having sex and beginning and ending relationships under such conditions? How will people deal with the stress, limited choice of intimate partners and issues related to consent? And how will sexual harassment or assault be prevented or addressed?
On Oct. 15, 2017, #MeToo ushered in a global movement against sexual harassment and assault. As researchers exploring human factors in space and space sexology — the study of intimacy and sexuality away from Earth — we argue that it is time to plan for the future of #MeToo in space.