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What do you think space smells like?

Posted by on Jul. 31, 2012 at 8:50 AM
  • 30 Replies

What Does Space Smell Like? Some Say Steak, Some Say Metal

By Tim Newcomb | @tdnewcomb | July 25, 2012 | 56
 
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Simply put, space stinks. We aren't quite sure like what, but we do know that the smell isn't so pretty. Indeed, it's so peculiar to astronauts that NASA wants to try and mimic it so that would-be space walkers know what they're getting themselves - and their noses - into.

Without a strong sample size of folks who have undergone a space walk, they've found it rather tough to pinpoint the smell, with some former astronauts having called the odor akin to "seared steak," "hot metal," "welding fumes" or even "gunpowder." Now, NASA has enlisted the help of London chemist Steve Pearce - pro bono, mind you - to recreate the smell, hoping it will help in training exercises.

Pearce isn't totally foreign to space smells, even though he's never ventured there himself. He recently recreated the lingering smell of the Mir space station, a concoction of "sweaty feet and stale body odor, mix that odor with nail polish remover and gasoline... then you get close!" he told Discovery. Add in a touch of vodka - because, after all, they were Russian astronauts aboard Mir - to that, and the end result, he says was simply "horrible."

"It certainly conveyed the sense that it wouldn't have been nice to be trapped in Mir for too long," he says. But that smell is only within the comfy confines of the space station. What are astronauts breathing in when they step out into that final frontier. Finding the smell of space may prove a bit tougher.

Mixing anecdotal discoveries together - Pearce says that seared steak and hot metal actually fall in line with each other and "lead us to conclude that the sensation is caused by some high-energy vibrations in particles brought back inside which mix with the air" - with the recent discovery of ethyl formate in space's dust particles (that's the same matter that gives raspberries their flavor), and there's a strong starting point for recreating the possibly sulfurous-like smell of space.

Between the food options, tight quarters and smelly sensations, the life of an astronaut looks less and less glamorous.



Read more: http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/07/25/what-does-space-smell-like-some-say-steak-some-say-metal/?xid=newsletter-weekly#ixzz22CiAXWcU

by on Jul. 31, 2012 at 8:50 AM
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Replies (1-10):
MyJaidon
by on Jul. 31, 2012 at 9:27 AM
2 moms liked this
Lots and lots of gas...

Excuse me.
EireLass
by Ruby Member on Jul. 31, 2012 at 10:12 AM
2 moms liked this

Probably trash.....like the dump.

But I bet if you stick your tongue out, it tastes like chicken. Everything odd tastes like chicken.

katzmeow726
by Platinum Member on Jul. 31, 2012 at 10:30 AM
4 moms liked this

Not gonna lie...

Read title, and automatically thought of that Futurama episode where the Professor makes a Smell-o-scrope and finds a GIANT ball of garbage in outerspace heading towards earth.

 

 

Jenny-talia
by Bronze Member on Jul. 31, 2012 at 10:31 AM

They say it would smell a lot like a raceway.  Hot metal, gases, fumes...

Holztastic
by on Jul. 31, 2012 at 1:46 PM

I assume it would smell like whatever gases are in the atmosphere.

futureshock
by Ruby Member on Jul. 31, 2012 at 1:53 PM

So they aren't smelling space directly, right?  It is just space mixed in with the shuttle, etc.?

futureshock
by Ruby Member on Jul. 31, 2012 at 1:53 PM
1 mom liked this


Quoting Holztastic:

I assume it would smell like whatever gases are in the atmosphere.

I don't think there is an atmosphere.

PortiaRose
by on Jul. 31, 2012 at 1:54 PM
1 mom liked this
This whole conversation is nutzo.

Quoting futureshock:

So they aren't smelling space directly, right?  It is just space mixed in with the shuttle, etc.?

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rfurlongg
by on Jul. 31, 2012 at 1:56 PM
I had never contemplated what space would smell like.
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SlightlyPerfect
by Silver Member on Jul. 31, 2012 at 3:35 PM

I wonder how one could actually smell space. I guess you could before your head explodes.

Quoting futureshock:

So they aren't smelling space directly, right?  It is just space mixed in with the shuttle, etc.?


slightlyperfect

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