Feeds

Brit chemist conjures smell of outer space

Fried steak and hot metal

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

NASA has commissioned a British chemist to recreate the fragrance of outer space - variously described by astronauts as resembling "fried steak, hot metal and even welding a motorbike", the Daily Mail reports.

Steven Pearce of Omega Ingredients has taken to the lab in order to "help astronauts prepare for the conditions they will encounter in space". He explained: "I did some work for an art exhibition in July, which was based entirely on smell and one of the things I created was the smell of the inside of the Mir space station. Nasa heard about it and contacted me to see if I could help them recreate the smell of space to help their astronauts."

He continued: "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."

Helpfully for Pearce, NASA has been able to give some pointers as to how he should go about brewing up his parfum cosmique: "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 odours. For them, what comes across is a smell of fried steak, hot metal and even welding a motorbike."

The project - which should be done and dusted by the end of the year - has proved technically challenging. Pearce admitted: "We have already produced the smell of fried steak, but hot metal is proving more difficult. We think it's a high-energy vibration in the molecule and that's what we're trying to add to it now." ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Video games make you NASTY AND VIOLENT
Especially if you are bad at them and keep losing
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Solar-powered aircraft unveiled for round-the-world flight
It's going to be a slow and sleepy flight for the pilots
Russian deputy PM: 'We are coming to the Moon FOREVER'
Plans to annex Earth's satellite with permanent base by 2030
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Saturn spotted spawning new FEMTO-MOON
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
India's GPS alternative launches second satellite
Closed satnav system due to have all seven birds aloft by 2016
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.