What Does Space Smell Like?

Did you know that outer space has a distinct scent? You can’t actually inhale while you’re in outer space and survive. Also, you wouldn’t be able to smell anything even if you could take in a big whiff because space is an airless vacuum. But items that have returned from beyond the Earth’s atmosphere have a noticeable aroma, according to Reader’s Digest.

Astronauts explain that their space suits smell like scorched meat with a touch of metal. Some describe the odor as reminiscent of welding vapors.

As stars and other celestial bodies undergo nuclear reactions, they discharge polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons into space. Experts think that the disagreeable smell could come from those particles.

But all areas of the universe may not have the same odor. Ethyl formate, which is responsible for giving raspberries their flavor, is plentiful at the core of the Milky Way. If you could inhale as you passed through this area of space, you might find that it smells like fruit.

The astronauts that landed on the moon were able to identify what it smells like after they tracked moon dust into their craft. According to Buzz Aldrin, the moon smells like the ashes from charcoal or charred wood.

But moon dust is made of silicon dioxide, iron, calcium and magnesium. These minerals shouldn’t smell like gunpowder. Scientists aren’t sure why the moon has a burnt smell. Some believe that it only takes on its characteristic odor when it reacts to the oxygen and moisture in the cabin of a spacecraft. Oxygen can provoke chemical reactions that are similar to the oxidation that occurs when you burn something on Earth.

Further Reading: https://www.rd.com/culture/outer-space-smell/