What Space Smells Like
According to many astronauts, space smells like metal and fuel. Other say they’ve picked up notes of grilled meats. When wondering about the smell of space, who better to consult than an astronaut?
Not that they’ve experienced it first hand, either — space is a vacuum, so they would be dead — but they have taken more than a whiff or two of the residue on their space suits.
It’s generally agreed that the aroma is slightly acrid, but not unpleasant. One space traveler even said the scent took him back to the summers of his youth when he worked as an arc welder.
The smell is mostly attributed to dying stars, traces of which are reportedly everywhere — comets, meteors, space dust — you name it. Not only does the aromatic byproduct of the explosions spread, it tends to linger.
The hydrocarbons responsible for the intensity and breadth of space’s olfactory signature are also found in terrestrial products like oil, coal, and some foods.
NASA has commissioned the replication of the smell, so someday we may all get a chance to breathe in some space splendor.