spaceSpace and Physics

In 2001, Two People Became The First Humans To Have Sex "On The Moon"

James Felton

James Felton

James Felton

James Felton

Senior Staff Writer

James is a published author with four pop-history and science books to his name. He specializes in history, strange science, and anything out of the ordinary.

Senior Staff Writer

An astronaut on the Moon, not having sex due to the fact that that would be a fatal act, among many other reasons.

An astronaut on the Moon, not having sex due to the fact that that would be a fatal act, among many other reasons. Image credit: Oleg_Yakovlev/

Unless there's something that Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong didn't tell us about, there are very few people that can claim they have had sex on the Moon. In fact, there are, so far, only two. 

In 2000, a high-achieving student from the University of Utah lived out many a scientist's dream and joined NASA's internship program. Thad Roberts, a triple-major in physics, geology, and geophysics had even bigger dreams than most, wanting not only to be an astronaut but the first person on Mars. Unless there's a sudden and unexpected turn of events, this will not happen, though you could argue that he's done the next "best" thing when he had sex upon space rocks.


During his internship at NASA, Roberts soon got over his initial nerves at being at the biggest space agency in the world and began getting into shenanigans, including sneaking onto a space shuttle simulator. Unfortunately, the wacky prank phase soon turned into a committing federal crime phase, when Roberts spotted Moon rocks in a laboratory and set himself a new goal of stealing the rocks and selling them for money.

You would like to think that a heist of NASA would require at least three costume changes, two montages where the main heister explains the heist, and one twist where unbeknownst to the other heisters it turns out he'd heisted them too in the process. We would love to tell you that was the case, but in reality, he and two interns he roped in – Tiffany Fowler and Shae Saur – merely walked into the laboratory using their NASA IDs one night. When they realized they could not open the safe, they merely put it on a dolly and walked out of the building, without even pausing to do a patented George Clooney double switcharoo.

Once they were out, the team managed to release the rocks from their safe, and began to look at selling them. In the meantime, Thad decided to become the first person in history to do a sex on them.


"I take some of the moon rocks, and I put 'em underneath the blanket in the bed," Roberts told CBS News in an interview, before being asked if he had had sex on the Moon rocks (and one sample of a Martian meteor).


"Yeah. I never said anything, but I'm sure she could feel it. She never said anything directly, either, but it was more about the symbol of what we were doing – you know, basically having sex on the moon."

As you can imagine, it wasn't the most comfortable of lovemaking sessions, which is one of the many reasons it's rare for people to incorporate geology into foreplay. 

"Yeah, it's more uncomfortable than not," Roberts told CBS. "But it wasn't about the comfort at that point. It was about the expression. And no one had ever had sex on the moon before."

Roberts' story was turned into a fairly sympathetic book in 2011 by author Ben Mezrich, titled Sex on the Moon


"He really wasn't a criminal," Mezrich said in 2012. "He didn't think through the after-effects. I asked him dozens of times over the year, 'How did you think you were going to get away with this?' And he said it just wasn't part of the thought process. ... He only thought of it as a college prank; he thought, 'Even if I do get caught, what's the worst they'll do to me?"

The worst, it turned out, was an eight-year sentence to federal prison. Roberts, it will shock you to learn, was not one of the all-time great cat burglars. His plan to sell off the rocks was to list them on the website of the Mineralogy Club of Antwerp in Belgium. Moon rocks are rare and incredibly expensive, and soon one collector grew suspicious that the sale might not be legit and alerted the FBI, who decided to set up a sting operation.

At this point, we'd love to tell you that the FBI set up an elaborate operation involving at least as many montages and double-crosses as above, but alas, they merely emailed saying they'd be up for buying a bit of moon. Roberts – under the guise of “Orb Robinson”, which is about as good as "Ian Fakename" in terms of aliases – was told to “contact my brother and sister-in-law in Pennsylvania to set up a meeting.”

When Roberts met the prospective buyers in an Italian restaurant, he discovered that the "brother and sister-in-law" were actually feds. The moon rocks were recovered – and as an added bonus, several stolen dinosaur fossils were recovered from his house. It is unknown whether he boned upon the dino bones.


As amusing as several of the details of the case were, there is an incredibly serious side to it all. Not only had he stolen the moon samples, but he had also done irreparable damage to them. 

"The young thieves did more than just try to sell off a collection of lunar samples worth as much as $21 million," the FBI wrote. "In the process, they also contaminated them – making them virtually useless to the scientific community."

Worse still, in their attempts to steal, have sex on, and then sell the contaminated rocks, they destroyed three decades of handwritten notes by NASA scientists that had been locked in the safe – making them perhaps the worst interns the space agency has ever had.



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