Despite science working overtime over the last few decades to figure out what exactly is going on with our bodies, there are still a lot we don’t know.
And the latest thing that we have no idea about involves space, astronauts, and herpes. Bear with me here, this will all make sense.
According to recent research published in Frontiers in Microbiology, space travel reactivates dormant herpes viruses in over half the astronauts who travel on space shuttles and the International Space Station.
You read that correctly, space travel causes herpes breakouts among most astronauts.
Researchers discovered that spaceflight caused a rise in stress hormones that are known to suppress the immune system and found that an astronaut’s immune cells that fight against viruses become less effective for up to 60 days after the trip. Luckily, symptoms were relatively rare for the astronauts with only six of the 89 astronauts studied showing any herpes breakouts.
In short, herpes cells in astronauts are getting triggered due to the stress of space travel, which make sense given the physical and mental toll required for spaceflight and living in space.
Before we get into this further, let’s get some things straight about herpes first.
There are around nine different types of herpes viruses (one of which is the bad STI kind) and almost everyone has a harmless herpes strain in them. Sometimes there are no symptoms while other times it may manifest as non-dangerous cold sores.
This situation is more about how space travel affects our immune systems and definitely not about astronauts spreading STIs after getting freaky in zero gravity. So for those expecting something like chlamydia spreading at Splendour In The Grass but in set in space, sorry you’re going to have to look somewhere else.
While this discovery poses health risks for hypothetical future missions to Mars and beyond, at least scientists won’t have to worry about herpes spreading around via hooking up.
That’s because Newton’s laws of physics makes it near-impossible for two people to get it on while in space’s zero gravity environment. Even if you managed to “do it”, it definitely won’t be anywhere near as comfortable as what all those space-themed pornos would have you believe.
But hey, if scientists can figure out how to put a person on the moon, then surely they can sort out a solution to the herpes and sex-in-space problems before we all head to Mars.