[Debunked] NASA bans masturbation in space due to pregnancy concerns


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This has been explained by Snopes here (as well as elsewhere) but I want to add a few little details that I found interesting.

The story goes that various news outlets reported that a "NASA engineer/scientist" had told Conan O'Brien about a NASA mastubation ban, whereas the idea of a ban and the reasoning behind it was actually put forward as a joke by Conan's co-host Matt Gourley during a conversation with Smythe Mulikan, a mechanical engineer who works with a NASA contractor in Texas.

It seems that the story was first reported by The Daily Star on July 21st and then later by other news organisations such as The New York Post, Metro, Indy 100 and news.com.au, as well as many smaller blogs and "content farms" - especially, for some reason, in Africa.

The interesting bit for me is that The Daily Star version has now been replaced by an article headlined "Comedian’s joke about Nasa ban on masturbation in space over pregnancy fears goes viral".

A comedian's joke about astronauts being warned not to play with their “rockets” in space so they don’t accidentally impregnate three female crewmates (if they happened to be naked) has gone viral.

The bizarre suggestion that self-pleasuring is banned in zero-G amid fears any floating semen could leave female colleagues up the duff, came from a recent episode of US chat show king, Conan O'Brien's podcast in an episode entitled: 'Space Porn.'

Content from External Source

So they've changed their story to report on a "bizarre suggestion" (that they made) that went viral (started by them) with no mention of the previous version.

Several copies of the original version are on archive.org but they aren't accessible for some reason. However identical articles with the correct headline appear to have been duplicated in a number of places:

Astronauts have been warned not to masturbate in space because it poses the risk of impregnating three females.

Self-pleasuring is banned in zero gravity amid fears any floating semen could leave female astronauts pregnant

The bizarre revelation was made on US chat show king Conan O’Brien’s Needs A Friend podcast.

During recording, Conan asked a Nasa engineer if he had ever sent porn to the International Space Station.

The engineer, identified only as Smythe, told him: “No, none of that.”

And O’Brien went on: “Does porn work in zero gravity? It goes everywhere.”

Smythe told him: “Three female astronauts can be impregnated by the same man on the same session… it finds its way.”

Content from External Source

I guess I'm just thinking: naughty Daily Star for not at least mentioning it was an updated version of a previous article or that they started it (not that I expect much from them); and, moreso, have they asked archive.org to help erase the evidence of it? Or is it just one o' them things?

Plus interesting to see the source of it, and how it spreads to other news organisations, even after it's been widely debunked by prominent fact checkers.
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"It goes everywhere."

I suspect this was influenced by the "virus particles are smaller than the weave of a mask, therefore masks do nothing" nonsense. A complete lack of understanding that water binds everything together, even spooky ghosts.
"Tabloid distorts news", I'd be surprised only if a non-tabloid picked this story up

Several copies of the original version are on archive.org but they aren't accessible for some reason.
If you still have a browser where you can turn scripting off, try that. All archived dailystar pages redirect back to the site, loading that error page, presumably through a script embedded on the page.

have they asked archive.org to help erase the evidence of it?
there's no evidence of that