Puritans at JPL Ban Sex in Space Book (Update)

Editor's note: What mystifies me is why a book on "sex" would cause JPL to "establish new procedures" and yet other book signings and "use of JPL facilities for non-JPL-related events" did not trigger such an internal review. In the mean time this memo still doesn't explain why the "Ethics Officer" at JPL felt that it was in her power to take this book out of the JPL store.

I just spoke to someone at the JPL Store and asked if the book "Sex in Space" was for sale. The guy who answered the phone said that they had ordered it but that they were told to take it off the shelves. When I asked if it was the JPL Ethics Office that ordered this he said "yea, something like that" I sent an inquiry to the JPL Ethics Office. Let's see if they respond.

This book ban is rather odd for JPL (part of Caltech) - especially when you go to the Caltech online bookstore (there's a link on the JPL Store page) and see all of the sexually oriented material they openly sell. Just click "search" and do a global search for "sex". Scroll down and things get racier. Search for "sex in space" and the DVD for "Lust in Space" pops up. I think it is clear that the prudes are at JPL - not Caltech.

From: Stephen Kulczycki
Sent: Thursday, November 02, 2006 10:30 PM
To: All Personnel
Subject: Book Signing Cancellation

On September 21, a message was sent to JPL's all-personnel email list about the cancellation of a book signing at the JPL Store. The message stated that the event was being cancelled due to ethical issues.

The ethical issue that the message referred to was an internal policy question about the use of JPL facilities for non-JPL-related events. The message was not intended to imply in any way an ethical concern regarding the book's author, Laura Woodmansee. We regret that the message's intent was not clear, and extend our apologies to Ms. Woodmansee for any confusion that might have resulted.

For future events of this kind, we have established new procedures to fully coordinate the event prior to its announcement.

Stephen Kulczycki
Deputy Manager
Office Of Communications and Education

- NASA's Nervousness About Sex in Space
- Puritans at JPL Ban Sex in Space Book, earlier post
- NASA On-Orbit Pregnancy Test procedures
- JPL Ethics Office
- JPL Store

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on November 3, 2006 11:31 AM.

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