Buzz Aldrin Explains: How to Take a Whiz on the Moon

By Joseph Calamia | June 25, 2010 2:47 pm

144832main_aldrin_bootprintCharged with writing to an astronaut, a five-year-old boy asked a burning question: How do you pee and poop in your astronaut suit?

In an interview with Buzz Aldrin just published in Vanity Fair, contributing reporter Eric Spitznagel finally got this answer:

“We were well skilled in the art of disposal waste. There was such a thing called a ‘blue bag,’ which was kind of messy. There was a stickum on it, and you could stick it around your posterior. For urinating we had an ego-buster, which was like a condom catheter. We were cautioned not to overestimate our size. (Laughs.) Because if the condom was too big, there might be a little leakage.”

The story continues: Aldrin describes in full detail what happens if you *do* have a little “leakage” (wiggle it out into a larger bag) and where astronauts flush those blue baggies. Aldrin tells Spitznagel about a newbie mistake of tossing the bags (during extra-vehicular activity) in a trajectory that brought them straight back at their capsule.

“We looked out the window and there were three bags in a row, heading straight for us.”

In case, Spitznagel isn’t the only one wondering about space crap, you should know that taking care of business has come a long way since blue bags. Astronauts potty train using simulators before their travels. The Space Shuttles and International Space Station both have air-flushing toilets, and the International Space Station recycles pee.

Related content:
Discoblog: California Lays Claim to Astronaut Garbage Left Behind on the Moon
Discoblog: Scientists Examine Underwear Astronaut Wore for a Month
Discoblog: Astronauts in Space Finally Enter the Intertubes
Discoblog: Yum! Silkworms Could Be the Next Astronaut Food
80beats: Strife on the Space Station: Russians Can’t Use the American Toilet

Image: NASA

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Scat-egory
NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

Discoblog

Quirky, funny, and surprising science news from the edge of the known universe.
ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+

Login to your Account

X
E-mail address:
Password:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it e-mailed to you.

Not Registered Yet?

Register now for FREE. Registration only takes a few minutes to complete. Register now »