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Outer space smells like 'fried steak & hot metal'


LONDON (PTI): Ever wondered what outer space smells like? Well, it smells like a mixture of fried steak, hot metal and the welding of a motorbike, say scientists.
And, a chemist is now recreating the smell of space in a laboratory -- thanks to NASA, which commissioned the research that can be used to help astronauts prepare for the conditions they will encounter in space.

According to the chemist Steven Pearce, also Managing Director of Fragrance Manufacturing Company Omega Ingredients, the smell of space would be recreated by the end of the year.

“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,” Pearce said.

“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,” the chemist said.

“For them what comes across is a smell of fried steak, hot metal and even welding a motorbike,” one of them said. 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 tanks to simulate the loss of gravity and so it's just about making sure the whole thing is a realistic training exercise.

“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,” the British media quoted Pearce as saying.


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