Space, The Funky Frontier — The Smells of Space Include Everything From Grilled Steak, To Rotten Eggs, To Raspberries

07.20.12 6 years ago 3 Comments

Not pictured — copious stink lines.

Space — we know it’s vast, cold and nobody can hear you scream in it, but what does it smell like? Does it even have a smell at all? Sounds like a simple question, but it’s not like astronauts can just pop off their helmets and take a whiff. At least, not if they want to keep their heads intact.

Interestingly though, after space walks many astronauts have reported smelling a unique aroma coming from their spacesuits. Turns out space does have a smell — so strong a smell that it clings to spacesuits like BO to gym shorts.

The exact description of this space smell varies from astronaut to astronaut. Some have described it as a grilled steak, others as similar to welding fumes or gunpowder. Basically, it smells like burning. Where’s this space-stank come from? Mostly dying stars. When a star dies it creates polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which give off that telltale burny aroma. Apparently our Solar System is particularly ripe with these hydrocarbons for whatever reason.

Not all of space smells the same either. Based on chemical makeup, scientists predict certain corners of space may smell like egg farts, or on the more pleasant end of the spectrum, raspberries. Ugh, I don’t want to smell the part of space where the egg fart and raspberry clouds meet.

via Discover

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