Tourists love souvenirs. When we visit a new place, we feel like we need to bring home a piece. We even brought back souvenir rocks from the moon. But to do that, we had to leave something behind. What exactly did the Apollo astronauts leave on the moon?

The iconic images from the 1969 Apollo Moon missions will be with us forever: Neil Armstrong's iconic bootprint in the moon's dusty regolith, the American flag being raised, and bags of poo we jettisoned from the lander... Wait, what?

Weird Moon Fact: Not only are there rocks and dust on the moon, but 96 bags of astronaut feces, urine, and vomit. Yep.

It's something we don't really think about (unless you're six), but what happened when the Apollo astronauts had to go potty? Well, for starters, there were no bathrooms on the ship, or the moon. While NASA totally has the toilet figured out now, back in 1969 it consisted of two items: a bag and duct tape.

Go ahead and think about that one for a while.

It takes a lot of fuel to launch a craft into space. Every ounce has to be accounted for. So if you were an astronaut, would you rather makes space in the ship for a one-of-a-kind moon rock, or your bagged waste? The answer was pretty clear.

Here are some of the things Americans have left on the moon:

  • 70 spacecraft (orbiters, rovers and modules)
  • Six American flags
  • Two golf balls
  • Cameras of every shape and size
  • A patch from the doomed Apollo 1 mission, which burst into flames in 1967
  • Medals commemorating two Russian cosmonauts, Vladimir Komarov and Yuri Gagarin
  • A falcon’s feather used in a science experiment
  • A pair of boots
  • Used food & drink containers
  • Several armrests (?)
  • And 96 bags of astronaut... um, astro-poo.

Granted, those weren't all from the Apollo 11 crew. That was the grand total from all the Apollo moon missions.

I find this whole topic very strange to even consider. These are American heroes, they weren't responsible for the first trash on an alien world. The only conclusion that I can draw from this is that NASA has an awesome, yet infantile, sense of humor.

Here's my theory: Upon discovering alien life on the moon, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin created the bags of astro-poo, lit them, dropped them on the alien's doorstep, rang the doorbell and ran like hell.

Probably not.

Check out the amazing video below from YouTube channels Minute Physics and Smarter Every Day. They team up to explain it way better than I ever could.

Oh, here's a Bonus Weird Moon Fact: Is the original American flag Apollo 11 astronauts raised still standing on the moon? Nope. It was knocked over by she ship's engines as Aldrin and Armstrong launched for home (Although the flag that Apollo 15 deployed is thought to still be standing).