No one can hear you scream in space, but they can make a transcript of your entire journey owing to the Apollo 10 onboard comms. The Great Floating Turd Mystery of Apollo 10 is useful for NASA technicians who want to learn from the dress rehearsal for the Moon landing, and interesting for others who wish to read about it. Yes, the dialogue between Commander Thomas Stafford, Lunar Module Pilot Eugene, and Command Module Pilot John Young was interrupted not once, but twice by floating turds as they maneuvered their way to the Moon and back.
The most amusing part is that no one accepts credit for the strewn crap, making it a true Poodunit. On page 414 of a transcript from the Apollo 10 mission, the first unofficial zero-gravity sign is visible. The illuminating discussion reveals that the trio of astronauts has been joined by something strange, and they want to know who is to blame.
Commander Thomas Stafford is CDR, Command Module Pilot John Young is CMP, and Lunar Module Pilot Eugene Cernan is LMP. A discussion erupts as to who was the source of the escaped feces, providing fresh information about our astronauts’ bowel habits. The team was able to return to the task at hand after a brief check that the waste compartment wasn’t overflowing. On page 419, though, Apollo 10 was in difficulty once more.
When the squad is tasked with removing another stray excrement from the air, they try to figure out whodunit once more, prompting Cernan to make an oddly neutral statement. “I have no idea who it is,” he says. “I can’t claim it, and I can’t deny it.” If those who smelled it dealt it, it’s possible that others who didn’t claim or deny it were attempting to conceal it. We’ll probably never know the truth.
Despite their tumultuous journey (sorry, not sorry), the team completed their mission, with Young becoming the first astronaut to fly solo around the Moon and Stafford and Cernan bringing a Lunar Module within ten miles of the Moon’s surface. The resulting transcript is not only one of NASA’s most amusing, but it also serves as a significant milestone in humanity’s trek to the Moon. For man, its two small turds, but for NASA, it’s a tremendous leap.