Space gas has its consequences.
Humans produce two flammable gases: hydrogen and methane. Flammable gases accumulate in an enclosed space and can ignite. Astronauts are humans who spend lots of time in enclosed space. The logic is irrefutable. So, what’s the risk to farting astronauts?
Between 1968 and 1971, researchers Edwin L. Murphy and Doris H. Calloway published three, count ‘em, three studies on flatulence. The 1969 paper was about astronauts and their farts, specifically a study to determine the level of flatulence produced by difference astronaut space diets. Picturing how the study went brings into focus the many indignities astronauts face for their shot at space travel…
Their paper formed part of a loose trilogy of flatulence-related papers that the pair worked on, which kicked off with 1968′s “The Use of Expired Air to Measure Intestinal Gas Formation” and concluded with 1971′s “Reduction of Intestinal Gas-Forming Properties of Legumes by Traditional and Experimental Food Processing Methods.” Truly, if you needed to know something about farting in the late 1960s or early 1970s, you went to Calloway and Murphy. I would kill to be able to put something like that on a business card.