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.
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One astronaut’s trash is another state’s treasure. That’s the message from California as the Golden State officially registered a collection of 106 objects left behind on the moon by the Apollo 11 mission as a state historical resource. The collection encompasses about 5,000 pounds of objects, including the bottom stage of the lunar lander and the American flag planted on the moon’s surface by astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.
And it’s not just the tools and the flag–California has also claimed custody of bags of human waste left behind.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports on the logic behind the unusual decision:
The first landing on the moon by humans, on July 20, 1969, was “one of the most historical events in the last 100 to 200 years,” said Jay Correia, a historian with the Historical Resources Commission. California had a major role in developing the technology that made the trip to the moon possible.
Former man-on-the-moon Buzz Aldrin apparently has taken one giant leap for rapkind: He has recorded a rap song called “Rocket Experience.”
Aldrin teamed up with Snoop Dogg, Quincy Jones, and Soulja Boy to produce the rap. Check out the video spoof of Dogg, Jones, and Aldrin recording, Spinal Tap style. Aldrin hopes the song will foster an interest in space in today’s young people. He told USA Today:
“I’m not too good at carrying a tune, but I do have rhythm,” says Aldrin, who got the idea from a family member who felt the genre would have a broad reach. Aldrin’s ShareSpace Foundation, which promotes science and exploration, is one of three beneficiaries of the song’s iTunes sales. “I want kids interested in space. It’s their future”….[Aldrin] says rapping with Snoop Dogg proved almost as daunting as space. “Snoop had this great hand language going as he sang, which was hard for me,” Aldrin says. “But when it comes to getting people’s attention, comedy goes a long way.”
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Image: flickr / insidetwit