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(Space.com)   Outer space smells like seared steak, hot metal and welding fumes   (space.com) divider line 62
    More: Cool, Chamitoff, Mike Fincke, fish-eye lens, odors, International Space Station, engine rooms, space walks, NASA astronaut  
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5153 clicks; posted to Geek » on 21 Jul 2012 at 3:27 AM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-07-21 12:15:52 AM  
Or, my back yard on any given weekend.

MAAARRRKIIIEEE FARRRRKKKIIIIEEEEE INNNNN SPAAAAAAAACCCCEEE
 
2012-07-21 12:18:01 AM  
i49.tinypic.com
 
2012-07-21 12:23:18 AM  
Spacefunk
 
2012-07-21 12:32:13 AM  
A few months ago, a few friends and I were debating the "smell of hot metal". We have all experienced it, but not quite sure what it would be. Certainly the surfaces we were thinking of aren't hot enough to actually boil off Fe ions. Our best guess was convection currents from the heated surface drawing organic molecules from the room and creating an aroma.

That would not seem likely in space.

Any thoughts?
 
2012-07-21 12:59:51 AM  
Hot metal smells awesome!
 
2012-07-21 01:38:50 AM  

mr_a: Any thoughts?


Fe ions.
 
2012-07-21 01:44:25 AM  
Are you sure you're not smelling the Klingons?
 
2012-07-21 02:58:22 AM  

UberDave: [i49.tinypic.com image 299x242]


aaaand we're done
 
2012-07-21 03:31:43 AM  
My thoughts include... there is no smell there. Unless, what does oxygen smell like?

/dnrtfa
 
2012-07-21 03:35:43 AM  
FTA: " It reminded me of pleasant sweet smelling welding fumes."

Th' hell? I can't recall any "pleasant, sweet smelling welding fumes" from all the times I've been around them. Welding fumes smell more like a good way to get lung cancer or something.
 
2012-07-21 03:36:46 AM  
♫ Ground control to Major Tom, your steak is done, filet mignon... ♫
 
2012-07-21 03:51:45 AM  
Kinda reminds me of the Apollo 11 guys who said the lunar regolith smells like spent cordite.
 
2012-07-21 04:23:28 AM  
if i was on the ISS i can tell you what it would smell like.
 
2012-07-21 04:32:47 AM  
ass pennies in sssppppaaaaaaaaaaaccccceeeeeeeeeee
 
2012-07-21 04:33:10 AM  

butt-nuggets: there is no smell there. Unless, what does oxygen


No, technically there's "no smell" because it's a vacuum. The article refers to the particulates that cling to the astronauts space suits, thus when they come back in and take them off it makes the place smell like that.
 
2012-07-21 04:50:49 AM  
Sorry.

Where's the dog?
 
2012-07-21 04:59:47 AM  
pbfcomics.com
 
2012-07-21 05:39:35 AM  
www.caraccessoriesandsoftware.co.uk

Space-scented. Do it. NOW.
 
2012-07-21 05:42:42 AM  

Iczer: [www.caraccessoriesandsoftware.co.uk image 328x367]

Space-scented. Do it. NOW.


cdn.overclock.net
 
2012-07-21 05:43:30 AM  
In space, no one can smell you poot.
 
2012-07-21 06:25:13 AM  
So it smells like a Vo-Tech School?
 
2012-07-21 06:49:16 AM  
Somewhere Tim Allen is grunting in approval of these findings.
 
2012-07-21 06:57:25 AM  
A sealed container filled with mostly males who bath infrequently it at all; probably at best a wetnap wipedown?

I would have suspected space to smell more of man-ass.
 
2012-07-21 07:48:30 AM  
Scanners live in vain
 
2012-07-21 08:04:31 AM  
I figured the "smell of space" was ozone from the heated air when the air lock is repressurized.Some of the suit material might be ionized as well.
 
2012-07-21 08:25:32 AM  
I'd think all those plastics and metals, in a vacuum and heated, would off gas just enough to gain their smell.
Without air pushing the particles around, they would stick to the suit and follow you into the airlock.

/That and the microscopic bits of star stuff that are probably floating around out there.
/Tho a few atoms per cubic mile probably isn't enough to smell like anything.
 
2012-07-21 08:51:51 AM  

The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves: I figured the "smell of space" was ozone from the heated air when the air lock is repressurized.Some of the suit material might be ionized as well.


we got us a smarty pants over here...
 
2012-07-21 08:53:10 AM  
So it smells like Golden Corral
 
2012-07-21 08:58:31 AM  

mr_a: A few months ago, a few friends and I were debating the "smell of hot metal". We have all experienced it, but not quite sure what it would be. Certainly the surfaces we were thinking of aren't hot enough to actually boil off Fe ions. Our best guess was convection currents from the heated surface drawing organic molecules from the room and creating an aroma.

That would not seem likely in space.

Any thoughts?


If I had to guess -- and I obviously do -- I'd say it's probably mostly the smell of molecular oxygen reacting with the materials they have (spacesuits, tools). Unlike the O2 we're used to at ground level, molecular oxygen is highly reactive. Over time, it has a corrosive effect on stuff we put in space, which is one reason stuff won't last forever up there. Under the minimally filtered solar radiation at that extreme altitude, I imagine it might produce a distinctive smell of reacting molecules on and around the suits and tools. One of the modules on ISS is a Japanese experiment testing various materials' resilience to factors like that in low Earth orbit.
 
2012-07-21 08:59:41 AM  

Sylvia_Bandersnatch: mr_a: A few months ago, a few friends and I were debating the "smell of hot metal". We have all experienced it, but not quite sure what it would be. Certainly the surfaces we were thinking of aren't hot enough to actually boil off Fe ions. Our best guess was convection currents from the heated surface drawing organic molecules from the room and creating an aroma.

That would not seem likely in space.

Any thoughts?

If I had to guess -- and I obviously do -- I'd say it's probably mostly the smell of molecular oxygen reacting with the materials they have (spacesuits, tools). Unlike the O2 we're used to at ground level, molecular oxygen is highly reactive. Over time, it has a corrosive effect on stuff we put in space, which is one reason stuff won't last forever up there. Under the minimally filtered solar radiation at that extreme altitude, I imagine it might produce a distinctive smell of reacting molecules on and around the suits and tools. One of the modules on ISS is a Japanese experiment testing various materials' resilience to factors like that in low Earth orbit.


And by 'molecular' oxygen I meant to say 'elemental' oxygen. O2 is molecular; O1 is elemental. Duhr, I need cawfee.
 
2012-07-21 09:19:55 AM  
Throw in some ozone and I'm there!
 
2012-07-21 09:20:31 AM  
Reads like it smells like a machine shop or a garage. They both have very distinct odours.
 
2012-07-21 09:21:35 AM  
"Outer" space? They're still in our atmosphere and still experience 90% of our gravity field. They're just smelling their own suit being bombarded by particles.
 
2012-07-21 09:43:57 AM  

butt-nuggets: My thoughts include... there is no smell there. Unless, what does oxygen smell like?


www.mindhuestudio.com
 
2012-07-21 09:45:38 AM  
Huh... I would have thought those smells were the smell of the blood being vaporized in microscopic amounts.
 
2012-07-21 09:57:15 AM  
Hey come smell this thing. It smells exactly like burning nose.
 
2012-07-21 10:45:10 AM  

The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves: I figured the "smell of space" was ozone from the heated air when the air lock is repressurized.Some of the suit material might be ionized as well.


Ozone has a really distinctive smell though. I wouldn't compare it to seared meat or hot metal.
 
2012-07-21 10:49:37 AM  
I've smelled something similar to what the astronauts describe upon opening a large vacuum chamber (part of a molecular beam epitaxy rig, so parts of it get a thin coat of vacuum-deposited metals every time it's used) to the atmosphere. I suspect that at least part of the smell comes from byproducts of the oxide coating forming on exposed metal surfaces, which would explain why welding creates a similar smell. In space, I imagine some of that oxide coating gets knocked off the metal by hard UV, so it would do something similar when it comes back into the atmosphere.

I'm not sure what byproducts would result from forming an oxide coating, though. Leftover single oxygen atoms, maybe? Those would probably stick to the nearest thing they find, so you'd actually be inhaling ozone or nitrous oxide, right? I know bare, oxide-less metal surfaces tend to do strange catalytic stuff too, so maybe there are more complicated products involved.
 
2012-07-21 11:12:17 AM  

Professor Science: I've smelled something similar to what the astronauts describe upon opening a large vacuum chamber (part of a molecular beam epitaxy rig, so parts of it get a thin coat of vacuum-deposited metals every time it's used) to the atmosphere. I suspect that at least part of the smell comes from byproducts of the oxide coating forming on exposed metal surfaces, which would explain why welding creates a similar smell. In space, I imagine some of that oxide coating gets knocked off the metal by hard UV, so it would do something similar when it comes back into the atmosphere.

I'm not sure what byproducts would result from forming an oxide coating, though. Leftover single oxygen atoms, maybe? Those would probably stick to the nearest thing they find, so you'd actually be inhaling ozone or nitrous oxide, right? I know bare, oxide-less metal surfaces tend to do strange catalytic stuff too, so maybe there are more complicated products involved.


Any danger to your lungs?
 
2012-07-21 11:28:05 AM  

Cthulhu_is_my_homeboy: The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves: I figured the "smell of space" was ozone from the heated air when the air lock is repressurized.Some of the suit material might be ionized as well.

Ozone has a really distinctive smell though. I wouldn't compare it to seared meat or hot metal.


I sort of like the smell of ozone. It always gives me a headache though.
 
2012-07-21 11:51:26 AM  

Hollie Maea: Cthulhu_is_my_homeboy: The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves: I figured the "smell of space" was ozone from the heated air when the air lock is repressurized.Some of the suit material might be ionized as well.

Ozone has a really distinctive smell though. I wouldn't compare it to seared meat or hot metal.

I sort of like the smell of ozone. It always gives me a headache though.


Thats because its incredibly toxic. Trust me, you don't want to be smelling ozone much.
 
2012-07-21 12:03:13 PM  

The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves: I figured the "smell of space" was ozone from the heated air when the air lock is repressurized.Some of the suit material might be ionized as well.


That's what I figured.
 
2012-07-21 01:12:42 PM  

Quantum Apostrophe: "Outer" space? They're still in our atmosphere and still experience 90% of our gravity field. They're just smelling their own suit being bombarded by particles.


The Kármán line largely defines the boundary between outer space and the atmosphere. It's 100 km up there. NASA and the US military use other definitions, but every definition of outer space I read includes the altitude of the ISS, which is 403 km.

After looking this up just now, I realize that you don't actually speak the same language as the rest of us. I mean, you use terms that others recognize, but you make up your own definitions at odds with commonly accepted use to provoke people.

I wish there was a term for that. Oh well. I'll upload my brain to a quantum computer and be exploring the galaxy as a robotic spacecraft in a half century. I imagine I mght actually miss these types of interactions, but maybe I can have the "nostalgia" subroutine left out of the final build.
 
2012-07-21 02:32:54 PM  
My bet would be solar wind. The Sun is constantly bombarding us with particulate. Suit fabric would seem like a great net for it. Contains Iron, Magnesium, and a bevy of other manly smelling items
 
2012-07-21 02:33:32 PM  
This article, besides being 50 years late, is spectacularly silly. When it says space, it means the moon. Obviously we have not travelled anywhere else in order to sniff.
The easiest analogy to process; the moon smells like the 4th of July at 11:30pm. Space has no odor at all.
Talk about a sad, sorry news day.
 
2012-07-21 02:59:05 PM  

Old Man Winter: Space has no odor at all.


What if you put a hotdog in space? A real big hot dog. A hot dog the size of a planet. Would the particles vanish?

Or do you mean the space between the molecules that might have an odor that humans could detect?

Seems a silly, short-sighted, assertion.

/kids smell like ozone when they come in after playing in the cold.
 
2012-07-21 03:55:35 PM  
Hey, pull my finger and take a wiff. Probably what the inside of a space suit smells like.
 
2012-07-21 04:09:23 PM  

BolloxReader: The Kármán line largely defines the boundary between outer space and the atmosphere. It's 100 km up there. NASA and the US military use other definitions, but every definition of outer space I read includes the altitude of the ISS, which is 403 km.


Wow, all the way up to the thermosphere! Well sheeit, I best put down a payment on my Mars condo quick-like!

As for your delusional claptrap in the rest of your post, I assume it pleases you to jest.
 
2012-07-21 04:48:00 PM  
I don't believe there is anyone that has actually rolled the window down and taken a whiff to see what space smells like.
 
2012-07-21 04:59:52 PM  

pottie: I don't believe there is anyone that has actually rolled the window down and taken a whiff to see what space smells like.


Space windows don't roll down, silly.

They iris open.
 
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