Space Poop

The content below is from Episode #150 of the Who’d a Thunk It? Podcast


  • This week I recommend you make something from scratch!
    • Last week I saw a YouTube video of a guy making a PB+J sandwich completely from scratch. He baked the bread, made the jam, and blended his own peanut butter. It looked fun and delicious.
    • So Shannon and I replicated it.
    • The first attempt at making jam turned out to be more of a blackberry-flavored rock lol.
    • But jam 2.0 came out great.
    • THIS is how you make a PB+J
    • The coolest discovery was how easy it is to make your own peanut butter which is much less sweet than store PB.
    • Just buy peanuts (Spanish peanuts are best if you can find them), put in oven 300F for 30 minutes, then blend on high for about 10 minutes. Careful, they get hot in the blender.
  • So pick a favorite snack and look up how to make it from scratch. Bonus points if you make it with someone you love!


  • Episode #87 of this podcast titled “Where does our poop go?” examined where human waste ends up… down here on Earth.
    • This episode I wanted to look into a question that randomly popped into my head the other day: “How do astronauts poop? Where does all of their bodily waste go?”


  • This episode will contain language and topics meant for adults. Listener discretion is advised.
  • When we shit or piss down here on earth it usually goes in one direction: down.
    • Thanks to gravity our waste is pushed down and away from the rest of our bodies. For eons we humans popped squats in the woods or the savannah and now most of us use the toilet. Both methods require gravity.
    • But for someone in zero gravity, they can’t rely on that downward force to make sure their waste goes down the drain. Your average toilets don’t work in space.
      • Sure, if you have a nice solid shit, there is less mess, but what if you and the crew just had space chimichangas the night before? You don’t want all that nasty mess floating around you and getting into all that expensive space equipment.
  • Back in the beginning of space travel, when toilets were the least of everyone’s problems over at NASA, the first American mission in space didn’t even have a plan for a bathroom break.
    • it was in 1961 when Alan Shepard became the first American to go to space. It was supposed to be a very short trip and so mission command didn’t even bother with a bathroom plan. When launch was held up for over 3 hours after Alan Shepard had already strapped himself in he asked if he could pee LOL
    • Mission command found it would cost a whole lot of money to let him out of the rocket and start all over so they concluded he could just piss himself inside his space suit LOL.
    • The first American in space did the thing with piss sloshing around his toes.
  • Jump to the year 2000 and a space toilet was invented for American astronauts.
    • Though it was only designed for men, it was later used by women as well… though they had to awkwardly pee standing up.
    • To take a dump they had a pretty standard toilet, but with straps on the side to keep the astronauts ass tighter to the toilet rim creating a seal so none of the shit got out.
      • This model was flawed, didn’t work very well, and it wasn’t a fun job to clean this bad boy.
  • The toilets used today are meant for women and men so they are more comfortable.
    • Directly from
      • In 2018, NASA spent over $23 million on a new and improved toiletDownload pdf for astronauts on the International Space Station. To get around the problems of zero-gravity bathroom breaks, the new toilet is a specially designed vacuum toilet. There are two parts: a hose with a funnel at the end for peeing and a small raised toilet seat for pooping.
  • When the astronauts go to use this high tech toilet, they have to strap down their hands and legs so they don’t drift away mid-dump or mid-piss LOL.
    • To piss they just pick up the funnel around their naughty bits and press hard enough to their skin so no piss leaks out.
    • To shit they lift the lid of the most expensive toilet ever created and sit down. As soon as that lid is lifted the toilet begins suction to make sure no shit particles escape and to keep the smell to a minimum.
    • Space toilets have a smaller hole than the ones down here on earth and that is to make sure the seal between the toilet seat and the ass is more secure.
  • So, I know what you are saying: “Zeb, this is great stuff. I love hearing about shit in space and how it is done, but I want to know more! I need to know what happens to it!”
    • Well have no fear Who’d a Thunker! … but first a quote:

If you’ve ever seen a shooting star, it might have been a meteorite burning up in Earth’s atmosphere — or it might have been flaming astronaut poo.

Tracy Gregg
  • First, let’s talk about the piss.
    • Ok, so piss is 90% water right?
    • And to transport anything to space, to the International Space Station for example, costs a lot of money… Can you see where I’m going with this?
    • Here’s a direct quote from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) themselves:
      • An astronaut on the International Space Station (ISS) requires about one gallon of water each day, and at $83,000 per gallon to lift into space, the costs can quickly add up. It is approximately $500,000 per day to supply water to a crew of six astronauts on the ISS using launch vehicles for resupply. High costs have driven NASA to develop and utilize systems that recycle water in space.
    • All astronaut pee is collected and turned back into clean, drinkable water. Astronauts say that “Today’s coffee is tomorrow’s coffee!
    • When you think about it, it makes perfect sense. They drink their own recycled pee and that is precisely what any human would need to do on a long-distance space mission.
  • Now for the space shit.
    • On occasion, they will bring astronaut crap back to earth to be studied. Astronauts are above Earth’s protective magnetic field and therefore are subject to cosmic radiation. That fact coupled with the fact that scientists will literally study anything is why they might study astronaut shit.
    • But for the most part, space poop is burned.
      • Their shit, along with all wipes, TP, and gloves, gets vacuumed up into plastic waste bags that are then put into airtight sealed containers.
        • The gloves are a space thing. Zero G makes wearing gloves a necessity for shitting in space apparently LOL
      • The airtight containers are loaded onto a special spacecraft that was just used to bring supplies to the space station. That poop filled spacecraft is then shot back to earth, but not with the intent of landing. No, the spaceship (or spaceshiT) is intentionally burned up in Earth’s atmosphere.

The image above is of a Russian Progress spacecraft. These spacecrafts bring supplies to the ISS and take on trash and waste, which are then burned up in the atmosphere with the spacecraft. NASA/Wikimedia Commons

Above are some space toilets

  • Vox did an article titled “Apollo astronauts left their poop on the moon. We gotta go back for that shit.
    • The article has some cool insights into space shitting that I thought was interesting so here is the premise:
      • It’s been nearly 50 years since the Apollo 11 moon landing. Neil Armstrong’s iconic footprint is still there, undisturbed; there’s no atmosphere, no wind on the moon to blow it.
      • But the bigger human footprint on the moon is, arguably, the 96 bags of human waste left behind by the six Apollo missions that landed there.
      • Yes, our brave astronauts took dumps on their way to the moon, perhaps even on the moon, and they left behind their diapers in baggies, on humanity’s doorstep to the greater cosmos.
      • The bags have lingered there, and no one knows what has become of them. Now scientists want to go back, and answer a question that has profound implications for our future explorations of Mars: Is anything alive in them?
      • Human feces can be disgusting, but they’re also teeming with life. Around 50 percent of their mass is made up of bacteria, representing some of the 1,000-plus species of microbes that live in your gut. In a piece of poop lives a whole wondrous ecosystem.
      • Planet Earth has hosted this life and so much more for upward of 3.9 billion years. The moon, as far as we know, has been sterile and lifeless that whole time.
      • With the Apollo 11 moon landing, we took microbial life on Earth to the most extreme environment it has ever been in. Which means the human feces — along with bags of urine, food waste, vomit, and other waste in the bags, which also might contain microbial life — on the moon represents a natural, though unintended, experiment.
    • That is the gist of it. They go into the logistics for both possible outcomes: the bacteria is alive or the bacteria is not alive. They also talk about what this means for future missions to Mars in the hopes of colonization and the possible insights the moon poop could give in relations to the beginning of live on Earth.
      • Was life on earth started by an alien civilization dropping their shit off here billions of years ago?
    • See! You didn’t think space poop could be this interesting did ya? LOL
  • The last section of this episode isn’t necessarily about poop. This is the most mature section of the episode. Where before I was just using curse words, this part is truly not meant for children. YOU’VE BEEN WARNED… AGAIN
  • The real question that popped into my head the other day was: do astronauts masterbate while in space?
    • Some missions are brief like Alan Shephard’s brief flight in 1961, but what about Astronaut Scott Kelly’s famous 340 day stay on the International Space Station (ISS)? Are you telling me he went that long without climaxing? And STILL was able to keep a cool head?
      • I thought: it can’t just be done willy nilly or the ISS would look like a snowglobe with floating ejaculate flying around at all times.
      • Then I thought: do they shoot it out into space?
    • Luckily I wasn’t the only one who thought this would be an interesting topic. VICE did an article about it.
  • VICE’s Shamani Joshi (a Gen Z-focused culture reporter who curates conversations on tech, drugs, sex, and unconventional lifestyles.) wrote an article titled: Can Astronauts Masturbate in Space? An Investigation. We know space sex might come with significant logistical difficulties, but what about self-pleasure?
    • Apparently sex in space, contrary to how Carl Sagan wrote about it in his famous book adapted to Hollywood movie Contact, is not fun. I just recently listened to the VERY long unabridged Contact book. It was great, but was a lot of talk about how sex is unimaginably great in space in the book. That is in stark contrast of what I found out looking stuff up for this podcast LOL
    • Apparently Zero G makes it hard to hold on to your partner and to stay in the desired position.
    • Plus, having your expensively trained astronauts bumping uglies is an unnecessary risk to the mission. When people do the deed, drama is bound to follow. They are all coworkers up there after all.
    • Those are the realistic arguments against sex in space and NASA doesn’t really ever entertain any questions related to it… but what about just cranking one out on your own? … a solo mission if you will? LOL
    • Here’s a paragraph directly from the VICE article
      • “A few years ago, Marjorie Jenkins, a NASA advisor and expert on sex and gender health, wrote in a paper titled ‘Effects of Sex and Gender on Adaptations to Space: Reproductive Health’ that ejaculation was essential for men to avoid the risk of bacteria building up in their prostate, which could then lead to genitourinary infections. Many studies also conclude that masturbation is a great way to relieve stress and anxiety, so it would make sense for someone in a high-pressure space mission to want some form of escape.”
    • While NASA won’t discuss their astronauts beating it in space, Russian Cosmonauts don’t seem to have an issue LOL (us Americans, we’re so uptight about sex compared to other countries it seems).
      • To be fair, I understand why NASA doesn’t talk about it. It degrades the little amount of privacy these astronauts have up there on the station being on camera all the time. But I’m just curious of the logistics of it all ya know. So, I’m glad some Cosmonauts talked about it
    • Valeri Polyakov, a retired cosmonaut, kept a diary and said  “Psychological Support Service sent us some nice, ‘colorful’ movies which help to recover our will, to act like a normal adult male. There is nothing to be ashamed of.”
    • Valeri even said his higher ups told him to pack a sex doll for his 14-month stay in space (a record). But Valeri didn’t bring the doll for fear he might fall in love with the doll over an actual woman LOL
    • I mentioned cameras being fixed on the astronauts all the time, but the VICE article pointed out that the astronauts control these cameras and could probably just have the cameras avert their gaze and “rub one out while they’re having a shower or when huddled in their phone booth-sized sleeping quarters.”
  • Then comes the final question, the last tid bit to satiat my curiosity: what happens to the cum?
    • LOL, I know I’m so immature
      • Here’s what VICE said: “Finally, there’s also the question of what happens to the cum if an astronaut were to touch themselves. While tissues and wipes are available on the spacecraft, they may choose to dispose of these bodily fluids the same way they throw out piss: by dumping it in space where it freezes into ice crystals. Not quite the big bang you imagined.”

Remember that quote from Tracy Gregg I said earlier? Well here’s my unabridged version:

“If you’ve ever seen a shooting star, it might have been a meteorite burning up in Earth’s atmosphere — or it might have been flaming astronaut poo. ” – Tracy Gregg

“or apparently flaming astronaut nut.” -Zeb MC