Astronauts and scientists reveal: This smells like space

Astronauts and scientists reveal: This smells like space

Just like on Earth, different odors emanate from every corner of the infinite universe, many of which can be unpleasant.

Although it's impossible to smell the cosmos without facing certain death, astronauts have long described strong odors sticking to their spacesuits after returning to the air-tight chambers of space.

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Burnt meat

Those aboard the Apollo moon mission in 1969 described the smell as similar to gunpowder, while others who toured the International Space Station compared the smell to burnt meat.

According to the researchers, the metallic odor of burnt meat can be attributed to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which are found in charred foods on Earth and are routinely found in space. website

However, the metallic odor is probably a reaction to oxygen and not an odor found in space:

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Certain oxygen atoms stick to astronauts' suits before entering the airless vacuum of space, and when they reenter the airlock, they combine with new oxygen atoms to form ozone.

Rum and berries

Some astronauts who took off their helmets after spacewalks also reported that ozone smelled bitter, smoky, and even like rum and raspberries.

The smell of alcohol is slightly more pronounced than other descriptions, and has previously been linked to Sagittarius B2, a massive dust cloud at the center of our galaxy that contains very large amounts of alcoholic substances, including vinyl alcohol, methanol and ethanol.

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The cloud contains the chemical compound ethyl formate, which gives raspberries and rum their sweet smell.

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NASA astronaut Anne McClain during a spacewalk in this photo from the International Space Station on March 25, 2019. Image: NASA/Reuters/NTP

Rotten eggs

As if the name didn't give it away, Uranus smells strongly of flatulence, something that was discovered in 2018.

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The seventh planet from the Sun is made of hydrogen sulfide, the compound that creates the smell of rotten eggs and farts.

Whether you're lucky or not, the extreme conditions and extremely low temperatures of the distant planet will kill an Earthling long before the scent hits.

Surrounded by ammonia

Although comets are some of the most beautiful things in space, they are also among the smelliest.

Like the planet Uranus, the ice and Earth are surrounded by molecules of hydrogen sulfide and ammonia, reminiscent of the smell of urine, as scientists discovered in 2014.

Oddly enough, they should also emit a sweet almond scent.


Scientists have discovered that Saturn's largest moon has a distinct smell of gasoline, which shouldn't be surprising considering Titan is covered in rivers and lakes of oil.

The moon's atmosphere also consists of a thick smog of hydrocarbons, molecules that make up the crude oil used to make gasoline.

The stench itself is due to the benzene molecule, which is also naturally present in gasoline and floating in Titan's atmosphere.

Dalila Awolowo

Dalila Awolowo

"Explorer. Unapologetic entrepreneur. Alcohol fanatic. Certified writer. Wannabe tv evangelist. Twitter fanatic. Student. Web scholar. Travel buff."

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