That’s right, kids – astronauts pee too! Except they have to pee in some sort of space-porta-potty that probably doesn’t smell as bad as the ones at outdoor music festivals. Yuck. What you see above is the plume of a huge water and urine dump from shuttle Discovery this last week. The shuttle, while docked with the International Space Station, sprayed about 150 pounds of waste water and pee-pee out into space on September 10 – as you can assume, independent shuttle trackers and other geeks flipped the $#%^ out.
“IS THE SHUTTLE ON FIRE?! IS IT VENTING SOMETHING?”
Nope. Just pee. Here’s another picture from Space Weather (September 10 archive), which has some details on the extraurine activity. BWAHA!
From the Space Weather website:
Sky watchers across North America witnessed a strange event on Wednesday night. As space shuttle Discovery glided silently overhead, the orbiter sprouted a flamboyant comet-like tail.
“The shuttle put on a major light show,” says Perry.
In Madison, Wisconsin, photographer Abe Megahed witnessed a similar display: “The shuttle was sporting a massive curved plume. What could it be? Something venting? Reaction Control System thrusters? A massive, record-breaking urine dump?”
Stop laughing. Shuttle pilot Kevin Ford was indeed scheduled to carry out a number of “waste water” dumps over a several hour period around the time of these observations. Pristine water supplies and condensates were also dumped overboard in preparation for landing on Thursday, Sept. 10th.