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What does space smell like?

What does space smell like?

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“I love the smell of welding fumes in the morning”

We can’t smell space directly, because our noses don’t work in a vacuum. But astronauts aboard the ISS have reported that they notice a metallic aroma – like the smell of welding fumes – on the surface of their spacesuits once the airlock has re-pressurised. The Rosetta spacecraft also detected compounds responsible for the smell of rotten eggs, bitter almonds and cat urine, boiling off from the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

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Authors

luis villazon
Luis VillazonQ&A expert

Luis trained as a zoologist, but now works as a science and technology educator. In his spare time he builds 3D-printed robots, in the hope that he will be spared when the revolution inevitably comes.

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