Space and Physics

Floating Mystery Turds Interrupted The Apollo 10 Mission... Twice


Rachael Funnell

Social Editor and Staff Writer

clockFeb 16 2022, 14:53 UTC
apollo 10 floating turd

Zero gravity has its downsides. Image credit: Apollo 10 Mission, NASA/JSC

In space, no one can hear you scream – but thanks to the Apollo 10 onboard comms, they can make a transcript of your entire mission. Handy for NASA techs hoping to learn from the dress rehearsal for the Moon landing, and entertaining for those wanting to read about The Great Floating Turd Mystery of Apollo 10.


Yes, while delivering a commentary as they navigated their way to the Moon and back, the conversation between Commander Thomas Stafford, Lunar Module Pilot Eugene Cernan, and Command Module Pilot John Young was interrupted not once but twice by floating turds.

What’s most comical of all is that nobody takes responsibility for the floating poop, making it a real Poodunit.

The first unofficial zero-gravity indicator comes into view on page 414 of a transcript from the Apollo 10 mission. The revelatory exchange makes it clear that something untoward has joined the trio of astronauts, and they want to know who is responsible.

For reference, CDR is Commander Thomas Stafford, CMP is Command Module Pilot John Young and LMP is Lunar Module Pilot Eugene Cernan.

apollo 10 floating turd
Just imagine being the one to commit this to history on a typewriter. Image credit: Apollo 10 Mission, NASA/JSC

A debate breaks out as to who was the source of the escaped fecal matter, revealing new insights into the bowel habits of our trio of astronauts.

apollo 10 floating turd
And it gets better. Image credit: Apollo 10 Mission, NASA/JSC

After a quick check that the waste compartment wasn’t overflowing, the team was able to return to the task at hand. However, come page 419, Apollo 10 was in trouble again.

apollo 10 floating turd
Reminiscent of this bit in The Simpsons. Image credit: Apollo 10 Mission, NASA/JSC

Tasked with wrangling another wandering turd out of the air, the team once again try to prove whodunit, leading Cernan to make a suspiciously impartial statement. “I don’t know whose that is,” he says. “I can neither claim it nor disclaim it”


If those who smelt it dealt it, then perhaps those that neither claimed nor denied it were trying to hide it. The truth is, we’ll likely never know.

Despite their rather turdulent journey (sorry, not sorry), the team went on to complete their mission, which saw Young become the first astronaut to fly solo around the Moon while Stafford and Cernan took a Lunar Module within ten miles of its surface.

The resulting transcript not only makes for one of the most entertaining in NASA’s history, but it also acts as a pivotal piece of history in humans’ journey to the Moon.


Two small turds for man, a giant leap for NASA kind.

Space and Physics
  • nasa,

  • poo,

  • Apollo 10,

  • weird and wonderful