When there are billions of undiscovered entities out there in the universe, what we actually want to know is whether or not astronauts can fart in space. It’s a daily occurrence for us, humans, back on Earth. For some of us, it seems to be a much more regular occurrence. There are so many questions about what it’s like to let one rip up in space. Do they smell the same? Do they sound the same? What’s the breaking-wind situation up there? Let’s find out!
So, can Astronauts fart in space? Astronauts can fart in space, but they should do so with caution. Astronauts work on a space station that is made up of multiple tiny, pressurized compartments. If a fire breaks out in one of these compartments, then lingering farts, which contain flammable gases such as methane and hydrogen, will cause a worrying explosion.
Well, since American astronaut John Young was the first to fart on the moon (allegedly), NASA has been researching space flatulence for decades now……..no, they haven’t.
They’ve been researching the cosmos, but you and I, we’re going to take a look at this very serious issue.
So stick around; it’s interesting, if not quite amusing, at the very least.
What Happens When Astronauts Fart In Space?
Farts tend to linger in space for quite some time due to there being very little airflow to carry them away.
On Earth, when we fart, we know that the natural gases’ presence and smell will only be momentary.
Although some do seem to not go away no matter what you do.
Up in space, as we know, there isn’t any air to carry it away.
There may be oxygen inside a space station, but it’s not being blown about by the winds of mother nature.
Instead, the air in a space station is constantly recycled by our breathing systems, so yeah, er, yuck!
If you fart in your spacesuit, it is going to get trapped in there with you for a long time.
Luckily, the part of the spacesuit where your backside lives is separate from your head which lives in a helmet.
So, the fart may get trapped in your suit, but it won’t rise to your helmet so that the rest of your day’s work is unpleasant.
If there is some kind of fire, then yes, farting is probably going to make it worse.
Besides, you cant take your helmet off!
Just like spraying deodorant through the flame of a lighter, the fire is going to get bigger and more volatile.
Any lingering farts in the air will also contribute to the fire’s strength.
So, astronauts need to be able to deal with fires quickly.
And if they do feel the need to release wind, maybe keep it in for a minute or two longer.
If you do need to fart in space, but you’ve done it twice already and you’re now a little self-conscious, then the best thing for you to do is exactly what you’d do in this situation back on Earth.
Go outside or go for a walk.
Not only will you be able to let some farts out outside of the station, but if anyone else is there, perhaps an alien passerby, they won’t hear it!
Air is required for sound waves to travel.
Up in space, there isn’t any air, so the sound of your loud farts can’t be heard!
Do Astronauts Fart More In Space?
Yes, astronauts have been known to be more frequent farters when up in space due to a lack of gravity.
Yes, it’s our old friend gravity again.
Who knew such a force that we take for granted on our home planet could have such a significant role to play in space.
As there isn’t much gravity in space, astronauts become weightless.
It is therefore quite difficult to burp as the gases we normally release are struggling to ascend to our mouth.
Instead, they need to find another way out, which is, yes, you guessed it, out the other end.
Would A Fart Move You In Space?
No, a fart wouldn’t move you in space, so no, your rear end is not your very own little jetpack!
Let’s start with farts first. Do they move? Well, we already know that they don’t move much due to the lack of airflow present to transport them.
However, it had to move to exit our body, didn’t it? It’s a sudden release of gases in a weightless environment, so surely it would propel us across the room at least a little?
Here’s the thing.
Yes, there would be a bit of momentum pushing you forward but it would still be too slight to rocket you to the other side of the space station.
If you wanted to have any chance of moving at least an inch by your anus’ doing, you would need to channel the fart down a narrow passage, like a funnel, for example.
This is because farts actually exit and spread everywhere very quickly.
That’s why everyone in the room seems to smell one around the same time.
The gases have spread out.
For your anus jetpack, that’s not helpful, as it weakens the force of the fart.
If the fart was channeled, then a stronger thrust would be generated.
How Do Astronauts Stop Themselves From Farting In Space?
They can try to regulate their diet. They can try to hold it in. Ultimately, you can’t escape farting, so it is best to do it in a private location.
Unfortunately, you can’t just wind down the window to let the gases escape as you might do in the car.
So, astronauts have to keep on breathing in the same air, which means yes, keep breathing in the same farts from time to time.
Holding it in isn’t going to help. Eventually, it will just leak out of your body from wherever it can.
It’s therefore not worth giving yourself a stomach ache when it’s going to find a way out to your air supply anyway.
Specific space diets are used to minimise fart levels and they have been successful.
However, you can’t stop farting completely, as long as you’re consuming food.
Any foods that are known to send your anus into a disruptive and potentially dangerous repertoire have been banned by NASA for a long time.
These restricted foods include cabbage, broccoli, beans and many more. You know the others I’m talking about.
The usual culprits.
The restroom on a space station is probably also known as the designated farting spot.
Despite there being very little airflow in the space station, this is the place where there is the most ventilation, for obvious reasons.
Gravity really does like to change its behavior depending on where it finds itself.
What a cheeky little stinker!
Once again, you’ve found it to be the reason why such a harmless (debatable) activity on Earth can be a problem in space.
Living with your peers for a long time up in space can be quite intense. You’re going to learn all of their habits and quirks.
You’re going to hear all about their lives and their family. You’re also probably going to smell their farts.
Sorry that you can’t use your anus like a jet pack.
I hope that wasn’t the only reason you were aspiring to be an astronaut if you were.
If you do go up there and happen to see a fire, the first thing you should do is?
No, not get the fire extinguisher. Make sure you’re not about to let rip.
And then there is burping. But that’s a topic for another time.
Wondering what else astronauts can and cannot do? Then my other guides may be of interest:
- Can Astronauts Burp In Space?
- Do Astronauts Shower In Space?
- Do Astronauts Wash Their Clothes In Space?
- How Do Astronauts Brush Their Teeth?
Hey, my name is Chris. I’m a passionate and seasoned astronomer who loves nothing more than observing the night sky. I also love researching, learning, and writing all things Space and the Universe. I created Astronomy Scope to share my knowledge, experience, suggestions, and recommendations of what I have learned along the way while helping anyone to get into and maximize their enjoyment of the hobby.