Shitty Questions: A Space Toilet Tutorial

Kanye's golden throne is amateur hour compared to the Endeavor's space toilet, which cost a literal shitload (At the current rate of exchange, 1 shitload = $30 million USD). I don't even have that much monopoly money, and if I did I wouldn't invest in a space shitter, I'd buy a whole fleet of hotels on Kentucky Avenue because I like its proximity to free parking. But custom NASA toilets are cool too.

Apparently, astronauts get a lot of questions about their bowel movements. Here is how I picture life as an astronaut: you cram your way through an undergrad degree in the hard sciences; spend 3 years in active duty with the Air Force; complete grueling physical and mental health screenings; miraculously achieve Astronaut candidacy and train your motherfucking ass off; get in an honest-to-god rocketship and peace out of the PLANET; and when you come home everybody's like, "But how did you poop?"

Therefore, in the service of humanity, I have internet sleuthed the secrets to zero-gravity defecation. From the dirty minds at the Smithsonian:

All space toilets rely on the same basic system to remove waste: differential air pressure. Liquid waste is sucked into a plastic funnel on the end of the trunk-like tube and deposited into the base's urine container, which vents into space when filled.

You may have thought space was a vast expanse of cold dark emptiness, but it's actually just a really big pee depository. This is gross, NASA. You're like the astronaut equivalent of my dog on a walk, raising her leg on every fucking tree. When we finally make contact with extraterrestrial life, aliens are going to know us as the space urinators.

When using the liquid waste tube, female astronauts tend to have an easier time with funnels than male crew members, because female funnels are cup-shaped and adhere to the body when the toilet's pressure is turned on. Men, meanwhile, use a small cone, which they must hold close enough to themselves to collect waste, but not so close that they get vacuumed in. "We do not want men docking," cautions Scott Weinstein, a crew habitability trainer at NASA, in a video on space toilet training.

Docking has never been discussed in my work orientations. I am both grateful and strangely disappointed.

For solid waste deposits, the toilet has foot straps and thigh braces to help astronauts stay in place, and air-tight bags on hand for toilet paper disposal. Astronauts spend a lot of time in training sitting on space toilets to learn how to create a strong seal and how to align themselves properly.

I'm dying. I love science.

In Houston, the Johnson Space Center has a bathroom with two space toilets for practice. One model is fully functional. The other, a "positional trainer," has a video camera beneath its rim, and a television monitor on a table in front of it.

Only one question remains: who watches that footage?

Thanks, NASA. Really. Thank you so much.