I have to admit, I’d never thought about what space might smell like, until now. I just assumed because there’s no air, there’d be nothing to sniff. Plus, astronauts wear helmets, so would they really be able to smell anything anyway? As it turns out, they can, and in an effort to help astronauts prepare their senses ahead of missions, NASA decided to try and develop a perfume that captured the unique stench of the stars.
In 2008, NASA contracted Steve Pearce to try and recreate the smell; a challenge that took approximately four years to accomplish. Astronaut Peggy Whitson, who is a former resident of the International Space Station, previously told CNN space smells ‘kind of like a smell from a gun, right after you fire the shot’. She went on to describe the smell as ‘bitter’ in addition to being ‘smoky and burned’. Pearce took his inspiration from the accounts of astronauts, saying he’d heard space described as ‘a mix of gunpowder, seared steak, raspberries and rum.’
Decades ago, NASA contracted specialists to developed the ‘smell of space’ to help train astronauts before launch into orbit. NASA’s goal of simulating Space during training is to eliminate any surprises Astronauts might experience in Outer Space. The Smell of Space has been locked behind “Need to Know”, Astronaut only field training, and Red Tape for years. Through shear determination, grit, a lot of luck, and a couple of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, we got it out. Now we need your help to mass manufacturer it so that everyone can experience the Smell of Space for themselves.