Here’s what actually happens when you burp in space (and it’s not pretty)

Rob Waugh
Contributor
Chris Hadfield revealed the truth about space burps (Getty)

What happens when you burp in space? This may not be a question you’ve ever considered – but the answer is pretty alarming.

A former Space Station astronaut explained that it’s not at all like burping on Earth – and it’s all to do with gravity.

Former Commander Chris Hadfield said, ‘You can’t burp in space because the air, food and liquids in your stomach are all floating together like chunky bubbles.

Hadfield said, ‘If you burp, you throw up into your mouth. So guess where the trapped air goes?’


In fact, what comes out is ‘usually wet’, astronauts have said.

It’s all to do with gravity, which means that, on Earth, trapped air tends to rise to the top of your stomach.

In space, it doesn’t, which means that a mixture of liquid vomit and air tends to come out instead of a nice, crisp belch.

Going to the toilet is also pretty vile, as astronauts have to stick their bits into vacuum-style tubes to wee and poo – while holding onto metal bars for balance.

But even that is nothing compared to what the astronauts in the Space Race endured.

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Toilet facilities in the cramped Apollo 10 capsule were not exactly five star – so much so that Apollo astronauts generally used laxatives prior to flight to reduce the risk of a task that a NASA report described as ‘distasteful’ and ‘requiring an inordinate amount of time’.

The three astronauts on board – Thomas Stafford, Eugene Cernan and John Young – faced some rather unpleasant hazards in space in May 1969, as the 500-page transcript of their mission records.

‘Give me a napkin, quick,’ commander Stafford says. ‘There’s a turd floating through the air.’