Top 10 Moments in Space Bathroom History


It's in the Bag

NASA's Apollo program landed the first men on the moon, but its missions had at least one serious design flaw. When the astronauts had to go to the bathroom, they were forced to place a condom-like outfit over their most sensitive parts. The fitting attached to a hose that released urine out the side of the spacecraft.

The device was decidedly low-tech and could be downright painful. If the astronauts opened the valve too soon before starting to urinate, the suction would pull their genitalia right into the hose. Once the astronauts began to urinate, the fitting would often pop off, releasing a spray of urine into the spacecraft. Considering the effects of zero gravity, it was a less-than-pleasant experience for all on board.

That experience was nothing compared to the ordeal of weightless defecation. Astronauts had to tape a bag to his or her rear end; once the astronaut started going, he had to reach into the bag and grab whatever came out (there's no gravity up there to do the work), open up a capsule of blue germicide and mush everything together. Crew members on the Apollo 7 mission wrote of the experience, "Get naked, allow an hour, have plenty of tissues ready" [source: Saunders].