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What does space smell like? Or, better said, does the cosmic space have any smell?
Yes, the outer space does have a smell.
Moreover, you do not have to be a NASA astronaut to experience it!
Thanks to ‘Smell of Space’ Eau de perfume, you can enjoy it from the comfort of your home.
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Can You Smell In Space Station?
Before I tell you more about this unique perfume, you have to hear the story behind.
The ‘smell of space’ quest began when astronauts who have gone on spacewalks, started to speak, on their returns, about space’s unique odour.
Now, astronauts can’t smell or taste the space while they’re out and about.
That is because the interior of their spacesuits is sealed.
Even worse, these suits have a profound plastic smell that masks anything else.
However, when the astronauts were removing their helmets – once back into the space station – they were reporting this strong, characteristic scent of the outer space.
Thomas Jones, former NASA astronaut retired from space flying in 2001, believed the odour was created by atomic oxygen clinging to the fabric of the spacesuit:
“When we return to the capsule, the space suits carry a distinct odour. To me, it smells like the ozone odour created by electrical equipment, and somehow similar to burnt gunpowder.“
Why Does The Space Smell?
Indeed, according to NASA experts, the space odour adheres to space suits, helmet, gloves, and even to the space tools.
The odour is strong and it can be felt for quite some time.
Back to the actual smell, most astronauts find it difficult to describe.
“It is hard to describe the scent of space. It is not the olfactory equivalent to describing the palette sensations of some new food as ‘tastes like chicken’“, said Don Pettit, a NASA Astronaut on his return from a space mission.
Some say that it smells like burnt steak, others like smoked metal.
“It is like something I haven’t ever smelled before. Maybe a bit like burnt, seared steak, mixed with smoked metal. Hard to describe, however, it is a smell I’ll never forget,” said NASA Astronaut Kevin Ford.
Others describe the clinging smell as having an intense aroma of hot metal and welding fumes:
‘To me, the smell of space is metallic. It reminded me of my college summers, where I worked for many hours with an arc welding torch repairing heavy equipment. The smell of space brought back pleasant sweet smelling welding fumes,” he added.
Reflecting on the scent felt on his past experiences, Tony Antonelli – former NASA Astronaut and space shuttle pilot – said:
“The smell was strong and unique. Nothing like anything you had ever smelled on Earth before. Like a metallic mixture of other things that I don’t know how to describe.“
Smell Of Space Perfume
In 2012, NASA decided to find out what makes up the unique space smell, and see if the odour can be recreated on Earth.
For that, NASA hired Steven Pearce, an expert chemist, to isolate the odour and recreate it, here on earth.
One of the reasons was to use the fragrance to train astronauts preparing for further space missions.
Steven’s research proved that indeed, the metallic smell of space was caused by high-energy ionic vibrations of oxygen atoms.
The discovery triggered a lot of medical coverage and public desire to experience the smell as well.
Unfortunately, despite having the smell of space isolated and recreated almost a decade ago, NASA’s discovery was bureaucratically trapped behind a lot of red tape.
Luckily, after a lot of lobbying and lots of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, a team of experts got their hands on the ‘smell of outer space’ recipe.
Next step? Create a fragrance that the general public can enjoy as well.
According to the founding team, the tester has a “smokey and bitter smell”, in a unique combination of “seared steak, metal, raspberries, and rum.”
The ‘Eau de Space’ fragrance will be created by a team of award-winning perfumers, fashion, tech, and design professionals.
How To Order Eau De Space Fragrance
The fastest way to discover how the space smell is by supporting the Kickstarter project.
The official Kickstarter project page explains:
“Decades ago, NASA contracted specialists to developed the ‘smell of space’ to help train astronauts before launching into orbit, and eliminate surprises they might experience in Outer Space.“
In homage to the year the first humans landed on the moon for the first time, the campaign pledged an original sum of $1,969 (£1,577).
However, with 20 days still before it ends, the campaign has received almost a half a million GBP.
More precisely, £406,163 from 11,500 supporters from all over the world.
Before It’s Too Late!
A simple pledge of $29 (about £23) gets you one bottle of Eau de Space.
There are slight discounts if you order in bulk.
For each bottle you order, ‘Eau de Space’ will match you by donating one to a K-12 STEM program.
The team behind this unique project has further goals, education-related:
- Increase STEM education by creating experiential education.
- Recycle, reuse, and donate to K-12 educational programs around the world.
One ‘Eau de Space’ team does not have plans to mass-produce the scent at the end of this Kickstarter campaign.
Thus, if you’re thinking about experiencing the smell of outer space, pledge now, before it is too late!
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