Wait, why does the airlock smell like burnt steak and gunpowder?
June 5, 2013 8:27 AM   Subscribe

CSA Astronaut Chris Hadfield discusses how senses change aboard the International Space Station: Sound, Sight, Taste, Smell, and Touch. [previously]
posted by quin (10 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Lack of adequate shielding is certainly a problem for long term missions, but I have to say that Hadfield's ability to visually detect cosmic radiation is kind of comic book awesome.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 9:37 AM on June 5, 2013

My guess as to the smell question is that the routine evacuation of the room causes the atmospheric residues (including condensed skin oils) on the surfaces to vaporize, and possibly the absorbed gases and volatiles present in the materials to outgas as well. Let the air back in and the surfaces will continue to emit these scents for a time.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:14 AM on June 5, 2013

Perhaps the answer to the "gunpowder smell" question is related to the similar description of the smell of lunar dust by the Apollo astronauts.

The common factor between them is the exposure to near vacuum conditions. The key might be the loss of moisture and oils on dust-sized particles, which then are detected by the astronaut's sense of smell as gunpowder (which might have the same property??). Just my guess (and pretty close to George_Spiggott's guess).
posted by 1367 at 10:43 AM on June 5, 2013

uhh guys? CANADIAN Space Agency?

You've been had.
posted by Colonel Panic at 11:56 AM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

Damn, I thought it was the Confederate Space Agency.
posted by Xoebe at 1:47 PM on June 5, 2013

uhh guys? CANADIAN Space Agency?

You've been had.

Canadian Space Agency and Canadian Astronaut Corps
posted by 1367 at 3:32 PM on June 5, 2013

Visualizing cosmic rays and permanent nasal congestion; two things I really wouldn't have considered about being in space. Thanks for posting this!
posted by cman at 3:47 PM on June 5, 2013

Why were those videos so long? Surely they could have condensed them down to something more watchable like 3 seconds or so.
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 12:54 AM on June 7, 2013

Makes you wonder: what smells worse? The festering cesspool of a planet we have going here, filled with so much muck that life itself spontaneously arose, or the guy who hasn't showered properly in a year?

Kind of like the city mouse and the country mouse passing each other on the threshold of the city and the country, and both exclaiming to the other that the others neighborhood smells like shit.
posted by gjc at 4:40 AM on June 7, 2013

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