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Thermosphere and Beyond

The outer atmosphere is very thin; it contains the aurora.

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Apollo Astronauts Unload

Apollo Astronauts Unload


License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Have you ever wondered what happens to waste matter in space? Not trash, but human waste, like pee and poop. On the Apollo missions, the astronauts left poop on the moon!

Amazing But True!

Astronauts on the manned Apollo missions were in space for 8 to 12 days. During that time they ate and drank, so certainly they needed to eliminate waste! Of course, NASA wanted to be sure it was done safely. There are two ways to deal with waste: The astronauts could eliminate waste into a bag and then dump it later. Or they could pee directly into space. That’s what they did! Poop couldn’t go directly into space so it was bagged. Where are those bags now?

Credit: Nagashima
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/73598922@N00/371887341/
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

What a toilet looks like on the space shuttle [Figure2]

Explore More

With the link below, learn more about the bathroom habits of the Apollo astronauts. Then answer the following questions.

  1. What kept the astronaut protected from outer space when he was peeing into it?
  2. How did sending pee into space affect the spacecraft?
  3. What did NASA need to do about this? What could have happened if they hadn’t done this?
  4. Why did astronauts leave poop on the moon?

Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ License: CC BY-NC 3.0
  2. [2]^ Credit: Nagashima; Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/73598922@N00/371887341/; License: CC BY-NC 3.0


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