Space smells. But what does it smell like? Different astronauts and scientists have said different things—from seared steak to hot metal, gunpowder to welding fumes, raspberries to rum and nearly any meaty metallic description in between—but it's known to be a gnarly scent. Now NASA wants to know for sure. It's hired a scent chemist to get to the bottom of the smell of space.


The idea is to recreate the space smell in training so prospective astronauts can get better acclimated and not be caught off guard by the stench. Steve Pearce, the scent chemist tasked by NASA to recreate the smell, had previously made an art installation that mimicked the smell of the Mir space station. As Pearce explains how he cooked up the scent for the Mir:

"Just imagine sweaty feet and stale body odor, mix that odor with nail polish remover and gasoline ... then you get close!"

That seems like a good place to start, I guess. Awful and awful with more awful. Read more about what space smells like at The Atlantic. [Discovery via The Atlantic, Image Credit: Iculig/Shutterstock]