VSL// An answer to a question you’ve always wanted to know

Forget about the glory of exploring the final frontier, or what the moon smells like, or if anyone has ever seen a UFO— the one question people really want to know is, how do the astronauts go to the bathroom in space? The mystery is solved, thanks to this very interesting (and informative) video courtesy of NASA.

In this just-over-seven-minute-long tutorial, astronaut Mike Massimino visits with STS-132 Mission Specialists Steve Bowen and Piers Sellers for a quick refresher of the space shuttle Atlantis’s “Space Potty.” (And just in time! The Atlantis will be blasting off today, with a crew of six for a scheduled 12-day flight to the International Space Station.) Unsurprisingly, the mechanics are a little complicated when it comes to doing your business on the shuttle. We suggest you watch the video for the answers, which reveals, among other facts, that the Space Potty has only a 4-inch hole (as opposed to the normal toilet range of 12 to 18 inches) and a video camera. Let’s just say: “Alignment is important.”

This post is from Observer Short List—an email of three favorite things from people you want to know. Sign up to receive OSL here. VSL// An answer to a question you’ve always wanted to know