Curiosity [Source: CNN]

Since Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space in 1961, superstitious Russian cosmonauts have followed his example of watching a certain film and relieving themselves in the desert.

Gagarin watched the classic Soviet film "Beloye Solntse Pustinny" ("White Sun of the Desert") on the eve of his historic trip round the Earth.

Legend has it that while on his way to his rocket the next morning dressed in his space suit, Gagarin was faced with the need to answer the call of nature.

He clambered out of the bus and relieved himself through a tube from his space suit against one of the rear wheels.

Since then, all cosmonauts -- men and women -- have stuck to both traditions.

And even american astronauts, just before recent joint missions to the International Space Station, believed it better to respect such a protocol!

[CNN - TDF 1/2001 - 30/01/2001]