Today in 1972, astronauts John Young and Charles Duke stepped on the Moon during the Apollo 16 mission.
Young is the guy who once smuggled a corned beef sandwich onto a Gemini space mission, but this mission got even more wild.
This time around, Young told the world that orange juice had made him gassy.
Young and Duke were talking with Mission Control from the lunar surface for what they thought was a non-public debriefing.
At one point, Young turned to his colleague and said, in earthier language than I’ll use here, that while he was walking around on the Moon, he was also letting out a lot of gas.
His stomach was upset, he said, and he was convinced that it was because of all the orange juice the astronauts had been drinking.
“I like an occasional orange,” Young said, laughing. “Really do. But I’ll be durned if I’m going to be buried in oranges.”
But this was not a non-public debriefing.
The whole conversation had taken place on NASA’s public channel.
Anybody who was following the moon mission could have heard it.
Most people just laughed it off, but one guy didn’t: then-Florida Governor Reuben Askew, who was furious that his state’s signature crop was taking the rap for Young’s gas problem!
He swore it was an artificial orange substitute and not the real thing that was to blame.
It turned out that the actual culprit was a change NASA had made to the astronauts’ diet.
During Apollo 15, two astronauts developed potassium deficiencies that were actually causing some serious complications.
So for the next mission, they bumped the potassium way up, and that led to the extra gas.
Probably a good thing that Young didn’t bring another corned beef sandwich.
Today in St. George, South Carolina, the start of the World Grits Festival.
The town claims it eats more grits per capita than anywhere.
Plus, at the festival, they roll in grits, and whoever can cover themselves in the stuff the most wins a prize.
Photo by Charles M. Duke, NASA, via Flickr