If any of the 12 had a bowel movement and then obeyed procedures, then yes there is poop on the moon
My 30+ hour search of Apollo documentation did not reveal a direct answer either way. Perhaps the reason why NASA has never given a direct answer is because "leave poop on the moon" is not good public relations.
However, multiple sources indicate detailed planning and procedures to leave feces on the moon. There is a notable absence of planning, procedures, or records of transfer of feces from the lunar module to the command module.
Fecal management in the command module was very different from management in the lunar module
Feces in the CM was intended to be brought back to Earth. The production of feces does not change the total mass of the CM, so there is no flight penalty in retaining it. In fact, jettisoning feces would make it harder to track the total mass of the CM. Furthermore, the fecal matter can be studied for medical purposes if brought back to Earth. So the CM had a special compartment to store feces. It even had a special ventilation system, with a backup in case that failed (see NASA Tech Note D-6737, p. 10).
In contrast, there was a flight penalty for leaving the moon with feces. It was extra weight, which would need more fuel or allow for less moon rocks to take back. Nor did the LM have a ventilation system for the waste compartment, which saved even more weight.
There were two types of fecal devices
The Fecal Containment System (aka FCS) was an adult diaper. It was used when the astronauts were in their spacesuits (e.g., launch, moonwalks, and re-entry).
The Fecal Collection Assembly (aka FCA) was a kit. It comprised an outer bag, an inner bag which attached to the buttocks, a germicidal pouch, toilet tissue, and some wet-wipes. To complicate things, in the LM it was called the Defecation Collection Device (DCD), but it's the same thing. Various sources sometimes called the inner or outer bags of this kit a "fecal/emesis bag" or "F/E bag".
Did anyone poop while they were on the moon? I can't tell. There is a list of every fecal sample returned by Apollo. Some entries label which astronaut did it, but other entries are unlabeled. Worse, no sample is labeled for when or where it was taken. So this list tells us nothing about pooping on the moon.
The astronauts were not asked to record their bowel history, nor is it discussed in the mission reports.
Some have raised the point that astronauts avoided pooping. It was an unpleasant process, and many astronauts avoided it as much as they could. Also, they were given low-residue diets to reduce bowel movements. I recently saw an interview with an Apollo astronaut who said that he didn't go the entire trip, and when he got on the recovery aircraft carrier, he wanted to go poop instead of waste time shaking the admiral's hand. It's certainly plausible for the early (7-14) missions.
However, Apollo 15-17 spent several days on the lunar surface, and the astronauts were asked to eat more because of weight loss on prior missions. So I'm skeptical that all of the 12 astronauts avoided pooping while on the moon.
How did they collect the feces?
LM Operations Handbook vol 1, section 126.96.36.199.2 describes the process:
To defecate , the astronaut removes the inner bag from the outer bag. After unfastening the PGA and removing undergarments, the wax tissue is peeled off the bag's inner surface and the bag is placed securely over the anal area. After defecating, the used toilet tissue is deposited in the used bag and the disinfectant package is pinched and broken inside the bag. The used bag is then closed, kneaded, and inserted in the outer bag. The wax paper is removed from the adhesive on the fecal/emesis bag, it is sealed, then placed in the waste disposal compartment.
Now, compare that wording to section 188.8.131.52 of the same document, which describes disposing food waste:
A germicide tablet, attached to the outside of the food bag, is inserted into the bag after food consumption, to prevent fermentation and gas formation. The bag is rolled to its smallest size, banded, and placed in the waste disposal compartment.
So food wrappers -- which were definitely not brought back for study -- are placed in the same waste compartment as feces.
Disposing of feces was an official procedure that they were expected to follow:
184.108.40.206 Defecation Disposal
1. Remove defecation device from stowage.
2. Insert inner bag into unit.
3. Open germicide pouch & insert into inner F/E bag.
4. Perform task.
5. Seal inner bag.
6. Place inner bag into outer F/E bag & seal outer bag.
7. Knead contents.
8. Stow bag.
Was the waste container jettisoned? Yes, according to Apollo 17 Lunar Surface Procedures, p. 245:
11. Jettisoned to Lunar Surface Prior to L/O
Helmet/EVA Int. Stow.
1 LM ECS LiOH cartridge and Cannister
But couldn't the feces be taken out of the waste receptacle before jettison?
- It's not on the checklists.
- Where would you place it in the LM? There's no entry for it in the LM stowage documentation, other than the waste receptacle.
But couldn't it have been transferred to the CM?
There was a person back in mission control whose job was to track what items were in each spacecraft. They even used computers to help them with inventory. Every mission has a printout of this inventory. Each mission has hundreds of entries, no matter how small or mundane (like watch wristbands). There are six lists:
A. Command module at launch. Apollo 17 had 3 FCS (diapers) stowed, 1 FCS on crew, 48 FCA stowed.
B. Lunar module at launch. No fecal devices listed.
C. Items transferred from the CM to the LM, before descent to the moon. Apollo 17 had 2 diapers on crew.
D. Items in the LM at ascent from the moon. Apollo 17 had 2 diapers on crew and 12 DCD kits with the note "offload used item".
E. Items transferred from the LM to the CM. Apollo 17 had the 2 diapers worn by the crew which were "offloaded prior to separation". No other fecal devices are documented in the transfer to the CM.
F. CM at Earth re-entry. Apollo 17 lists 36 FCA.
Such a transfer to the CM was not documented.
Conclusion: Probably yes. It is likely at least one astronaut pooped while on the moon, and the official procedures were to leave it on the moon.