In 1969 Apollo 10 became the second manned mission to orbit the moon – but transcripts from the flight reveal that the astronauts were being orbited themselves – by zero-gravity poop.
NASA launched Apollo 10 on May 18th 1969 with Commander Thomas P. Stafford, John W. Young and Eugene A. Cernan on-board. They were the test flight for Apollo 11’s famous moon landing.
And that is probably all you’d ever know about Apollo 10 if NASA hadn’t released a 500-page transcript of everything that was said on the flight.
Some eagle-eyed Reddit users noticed a particularly funny section about poop that makes Apollo 10 sound like a dodgy coach trip with your school.
Thomas Stafford – Oh – Who did it?
John Young – Who did what?
Eugene Cernan – What?
Thomas Stafford – Who did it? (Laughter)
Eugene Cernan – Where did that come from?
Thomas Stafford – Give me a napkin quick. There’s a turd floating through the air.
When zero-gravity turds attack! I love that the captain of a mission to fly around the moon is trying to catch a floating shit in a napkin.
Really puts your career choices into perspective.
The astronauts, go on to have an argument that will be very familiar to anyone who has ever dropped a fart while watching TV with the family:
John Young – I didn’t do it. It ain’t one of mine.
Eugene Cernan – I don’t think it’s one of mine.
Thomas Stafford – Mine was a little more sticky than that. Throw that away.
John Young – God almighty.
Everyone – (Laughter)
Sounds like they’re having a lot of fun with the bizarre situation at least.
When you consider how dangerous spaceflight was at the time it’s pretty impressive that they’re keeping up such quality banter.
Also it must be quite an amazing team bonding exercise, playing chase with each other’s floating shit.
A few pages on in the transcripts though the menace of the floating turds unexpectedly returns suggesting that this is a persistent problem:
Eugene Cernan – They said on 135. They told us that – Here’s another goddam turd. What’s the matter with you guys? Here, give me a –
Thomas Stafford/John Young – (Laughter)
Eugene Cernan – Well, babe, if it was me, I sure would know I was shitting on the floor.
Thomas Stafford – It was just floating around?
Eugene Cernan – Yes.
Thomas Stafford – (Laughter) Mine was stickier than that.
Important to note that apparently in space the stickiness is like fingerprints for poop.
This does beg the question about how these turds came to be floating around in the first place? According to NBC News, the Apollo astronauts had a pretty basically system for disposing of solid waste.
Apparently these highly trained astronauts would shit in a bag, seal it up, and ‘knead it’ to mix in disinfectant, then put the whole thing in a waste receptacle.
According to a NASA report the process required “a great deal of skill,” and sometimes steps would be missed.
Normally shitting in a bag represents a serious low-point in your life but for these guys they were literally the highest they’d ever been.
If you’re a big fan of shitting in space this is what the toilet looks like on the International Space Station nowadays:
What an incredible adventure spaceflight is. This all goes to remind us that maybe one day we’ll be able to leave this planet but we’ll take our bodily functions with us.