Farts in Space · 25 October 2009

Conversations inevitably turn to bodily functions when you have boys. At least they do at our house. (Sometimes, those conversations make us sound like smart fellers instead of just being fart smellers even though “intelligent conversation” and “farts” do not get used in the same sentence very often.) A couple weeks ago on the way to his soccer game, Thing 2 started talking about farts. It was quite the conversation and we came up with several conclusions about farts in space.

I remember being young and making fart noises by blowing against my hand or arm. As I got older, I graduated to making fart noises with my hand cupped under my armpit. Thankfully, all three of my boys have these requisite boy skills. They might even have been a bit precocious developing their fart noise making skills because I do not remember having the armpit fart down as young as they were. Fart precociousness apparently did not stop with making noises with different body parts.

Thing 2 took talking about farts to a new level when we started discussing farting in space. At 11, I expect him to talk about space. I even understand his talking about farts. After all, most adult males are the ones who teach their children to make fart noises in different ways and even discuss why different farts have different odors and density. But I do not remember ever having a conversation about farts in space until Thing 2 brought it up on our ride.

It was a funny conversation not because it was about farts, but rather because it was about the physics of farts. We talked about the sound or the lack thereof that a fart in space would make. When he realized that there was no air in space to propagate the sound, he wondered about the change in volume of an astronaut’s pants. We talked about the differences of farting in space (if it really could be done without a spacesuit) and farting in a space station and transitioned to farting in a spacesuit. The discussion lasted most of the ride to the game. In short, we concluded the following:

  1. If you could fart in space without a spacesuit, it would not make any noise and would not stink either because there were too few particles in space to keep the smell anywhere in the vicinity of the farter.

  2. Farting in a space station would be like farting on earth. It might cause a little pants bubble like in a swimming pool, but it would not change a person’s buoyancy like it does in a swimming pool.

  3. Farting in a spacesuit could cause permanent damage to the nostrils and face due to the confined air in the suit. Nostrils might not survive the concentration of stink and the face might contort into a permanent state of fart disgust face.

While we have no conclusive evidence of these findings, our discussion proved to be enlightening as well as entertaining. (And yes, I did add the part about nostril and face damage. After all, our conversation was much too cerebral and serious to lead to such silly conclusions.)

I loved our conversation about farts and space and farts in space. It was one of those serious discussions about a silly subject that inevitably come up with males of any age. While I do not know what conversation we will have next, at least I can prepare for the next conversation about farts. I am sure I can find information on the internet about their chemical composition or their delivery speed. After all, I want to make sure I sound like a smart feller.

© 2009 Michael T. Miyoshi

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  1. Mr. Mike Miyoshi, I have to say this was very fun to read and ponder what conclusions you would come up with. I have to say the third one seems most logical :-)

    — Joe Scott · 24 October 2009, 08:16 ·

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