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article imageNASA Astronauts: 'Space smells like fried steak and hot metal'

By Chris V. Thangham     Oct 17, 2008 in Environment
NASA astronauts claim that outer space smells like fried steak, hot metal and a welded motorbike. NASA wants chemists to recreate that smell in labs so astronauts can get acclimatized to space.
NASA has enlisted Steven Pearce, a chemist and managing director of fragrance manufacturing company Omega Ingredients, to create such a smell of space in a laboratory.
Pearce has previous experience in this area; he recreated a smell of the inside of the Mir Space Station. He plans to do the same for NASA by end of this year but he faces some challenges ahead.
He told Telegraph:We have a few clues as to what space smells like. First of all, there were interviews with astronauts that we were given, when they had been outside and then returned to the space station and were de-suiting and taking off their helmets, they all reported quite particular odors.
The astronauts have indicated the space smells range from fried steak, hot metal and welding of a motorbike.
NASA wants to simulate this smell in the astronauts’ training regimen so they get used to the smell.
Pearce added:
The suggestion to us has been that it's about creating realism for their training, so they train the astronauts in their suits by putting them in big water tanks to simulate the loss of gravity and so it's just about making sure the whole thing is a realistic training exercise.
Pearce and his team have so far created the smell of fried steak, but recreating the smell of hot metal is posing some difficulties for them. But they hope to solve it soon.
Pearce discussed this project during his visit to the Manchester Science Festival at Moorside High School in Manchester: "Thank goodness we don’t have such a smell outdoors."
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