What Does Outer Space Smell Like? 1


Asking what space smells like has got to be a bit of a daft question, hasn’t it? I mean, space is just a big empty vacuum, so it can’t smell of anything, right?

Wrong! Space is actually a big old bundle of stinky stuff.

Luckily, Tom Jones has been able to help us out with a description.  No, we’re not talking about your gran’s favourite Welsh crooner, that’s a way different Tom Jones.

This Tom is the dude who spent more than eleven years with NASA and flew on four space shuttle missions to Earth orbit, installed the American Destiny laboratory on the International Space Station and spent nearly two months working and living in space.

Yup, that Tom Jones. He probably knows a bit more about space than the Welsh dude, but probably a whole lot less about stabbing some woman called Delilah. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, Google is your friend.

Anyways, back to the whiff of space. Our man Jonesy says that whenever he stepped out of his spacesuit in the airlock after an EVA (spacewalk), he smelled a trace of a peculiar, almost acrid odour. He says it’s a lot like hot electrical insulation burning or even gunpowder.

Other astronauts have likened the smell to burning charcoal, seared steak and hot metal. Yup, it’s one big BBQ party up there. Bring your own beer though, cos space ain’t paying your tab. Space is a bit tight like that.

So the next time you and all your nerd pals are shooting the breeze, staring up into the skies and doing a bunch of soul searching like you’ve seen on every coming-of-age movie ever filmed, you can bust open this big ass space fact and blow their feeble minds.

Save me one of those burgers though, yeah? You can have all the green stuff.


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