What Space Smells Like And How To Recreate It

Space smells. But what does it smell like? Different astronauts and scientists have said different things — from seared steak to hot metal, gunpowder to welding fumes, raspberries to rum and nearly any meaty metallic description in between — but it's known to be a gnarly scent. Now NASA wants to know for sure. It's hired a scent chemist to get to the bottom of the smell of space.

The idea is to recreate the space smell in training so prospective astronauts can get better acclimated and not be caught off guard by the stench. Steve Pearce, the scent chemist tasked by NASA to recreate the smell, had previously made an art installation that mimicked the smell of the Mir space station. As Pearce explains how he cooked up the scent for the Mir:

"Just imagine sweaty feet and stale body odor, mix that odor with nail polish remover and gasoline ... then you get close!"

That seems like a good place to start, I guess. Awful and awful with more awful. Read more about what space smells like at The Atlantic. [Discovery via The Atlantic, Image Credit: Iculig/Shutterstock]

WATCH MORE: Science & Health News


    Really? Stick a bunch of guys inside a great big engine and see what it smells like after 5 days... I wouldn't imagine it's too complex, but calling it "space" is a massive stretch. The trouble is that what they're talking about is a teeny little enclosed space full of complex electronics, plastics, wiring and full grown humans,all squished together.
    That's gonna smell funky anywhere- in space, on the earth, or under the sea.

    If space is a vacuum, then how can there be a smell? And lets forget how the are going to smell it in the first place.

    "Space Station Stink" seems to be a more fitting title.

    Why don't they just buy some of those little pinetrees that Taxi Drivers hang off their rearview mirror? Problem solved.

    Duh, just use the smell-o-scope.


    Read the original article at The Atlantic: the cosmonauts seem to be identifying a distinct smell after returning to the space station from a space walk. The smell of sweaty feet and whatnot is a smell recreated by the smell chemist, Pearce, to mimic that of the Mir space station (note: not of space itself).

      Thanks for being the only commenter with reading comprehension.

    Oh FFS, really? Hiring a scent chemist? All those smells inside any spacecraft will smell like what ever is in them. Talk about wasting money.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now