Monday, 23 July 2012

What Space Smells Like

image credit

When astronauts return from space walks and remove their helmets, they are welcomed back with a peculiar smell. An odor that is distinct and weird: something astronauts have described as 'seared steak,' 'hot metal,' and 'welding fumes.'

Space, astronaut Tony Antonelli has said, definitely has a smell that's different than anything else. Three-time spacewalker Thomas Jones has put it, 'carries a distinct odor of ozone, a faint acrid smell.' And now, NASA is trying to reproduce that smell for training purposes - the better to help preemptively acclimate astronauts to the odors of the extra-atmospheric environment.

4 comment(s):

Gareth said...

Is it space that smells like that or it is the odor given off when the outer surface of a spacesuit gets really hot?

Anonymous said...

or perhaps the smell is the re-pressurizing the airlock? similar to the smell of the air when surfacing after a scuba dive?

(the lack of smell underwater/space then the re-introduction of smell in a breathable atmosphere)

oz said...

what i was told is that space doesnt really have a temperature because there is no medium to conduct, similar to how you cant hear in space because there is nothing to carry the sound from the speaker to your ear.

the temperature that is felt, is from radiation from the light source, (sun/stars) vs. lack of radiation from lack of source, i.e. shadowing.

that radiation still cooks the body, same as a long day at the beach

because spacesuits are only pressurized to 1.2-1.4 psi, a spacesuit "could" only need to be as thick as a wetsuit to offer temperature regulation, but radiation protection is why modern spacesuits are so thick.

it doesnt take much pressure to keep your insides in..

wondering if the smell is because the air on the iss and shuttles is rebreathed, but mechanically filtered, but in the suit it is nearly pure oxygen?

would you still have the smell with a skintight suit and a scrubber, vs. a full spacesuit with o2?

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