What Space Smells Like? From Gunpowder to Raspberries
Most of us would have been curious to know what space smells, because it's so cold and vast and dark. With all this, we tend to recline over the thought that what our olfactory nerves would sense in space? Well, the Astronauts returning after their space walk can help probe into this interesting aspect.
Astronauts on space walks report that they are welcomed with a peculiar foul smell. They report a smoky and metallic smell on their suits, helmet and tools. This bitter smoky metallic smell is very similar to seared steak, hot metal, arc welding smoke, raspberries and rum. It is known to be a gnarly scent.
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NASA has spent a fair amount of time in analyzing the stink that clings to the space walking astronauts during their stay in space. Now, NASA wants to know for sure. It's hired a scent chemist to get to the bottom of the smell of space as it wants to have a clear perception on this tangling factor.
The kind of odour some of the explorer reported is, a distinct odour of ozone, a faint acrid smell the smell of gunpowder that is sulphurous. This was described by Thomas Jones who has successfully travelled the space thrice."
Assisting NASA in this mission is the scent chemist Steve Pearce. He is tasked by NASA to recreate the same stench as much as possible on Earth. He had previously made an art installation that mimicked the smell of the Mir space station.
This mission that is not time bound but hopes to yield the distinct smell of space and it will help astronauts to acclimate to the odour of the atmosphere beyond Earth.
Though the scientists are guessing that may be due to the presence of the molecules floating around in space the astronauts smell the polycyclic hydrocarbons. These compounds are formed during combustion which takes place when a star dies.
Astronauts come with with different answers when it comes to smelling space because not all of space produces the same smell. Certain corners produce different smells. It would be worth knowing what actually comes out of the research.