"In space, no one can hear you scream." They can apparently smell you, though.
I read today that NASA has hired a scent chemist to duplicate "space's smell". But when you actually read the story, they're talking about duplicating the space stations' smells. The large question facing us is, why? Is it, because it stinks?
Megan Garber's latest interesting column in The Atlantic begins, "When astronauts return from space walks and remove their helmets, they are welcomed back with a peculiar smell. An odor that is distinct and weird: something, astronauts have described it, like "seared steak." And also: "hot metal." And also: "welding fumes."
Ah, hot metal. Seared steak. Welding fumes. Yes. I often fantasize about places that smell like welding fumes. Garber went on,
"As for Pearce's NASA-commissioned eau de vacuum, he's working on the project in his spare time. And the wonderfully poetic descriptions provided by astronauts themselves are helping him as he goes along. Such as, for example, this sweet-smelling stuff from wonder-astronaut Don Pettit:
"Each time, when I repressed the airlock, opened the hatch and welcomed two tired workers inside, a peculiar odor tickled my olfactory senses," Pettit recalled. "At first I couldn't quite place it. It must have come from the air ducts that re-pressed the compartment. Then I noticed that this smell was on their suit, helmet, gloves, and tools. It was more pronounced on fabrics than on metal or plastic surfaces."
It is hard to describe this smell; it is definitely not the olfactory equivalent to describing the palette sensations of some new food as "tastes like chicken." The best description I can come up with is metallic; a rather pleasant sweet metallic sensation. It reminded me of my college summers where I labored for many hours with an arc welding torch repairing heavy equipment for a small logging outfit. It reminded me of pleasant sweet smelling welding fumes. That is the smell of space.
They claim it's for 'training purposes'. Sure. Guess that's a large part of the training program. She endured weightlessness, is hugely intelligent and quick minded and has amazing stamina but the smell got to her.
Stinking objects, whether it's on tee shirts to attract others, or smelling enclosed spaces orbiting above the earth, seem to be the growing craze. I wonder after reading of these things if Glade hasn't been going about it wrong, trying to mask smells. Maybe they should be duplicating bad smells. In fact, I believe that we could have another dating scene. Online dating agencies can send scent chemists into your home, and capture and duplicate it. Then groups provide their scent to applicants. You go to a smelling room somewhere and get a whiff, thus learning how their home smells. We can have smelling parties, which is similar to wine tasting but with more flared nostrils and raised eyebrows.
How someone's house smells is pretty important, isn't it? Perhaps we could go back and ask couples, "Okay, you broke up but I want you to think about it. Did the way the house smell have anything to do with it?"
Say you're trying to re-create your youthful holiday experience. You want to restore those cherished Christmas memories. You have the tree, the decorations, the cookies...but something is wrong.
It just doesn't smell right.
Companies can offer services. For a small fee, people can call in scent chemists to their celebrations each year and take a sample and duplicate it. Then, later, when you remember Christmas or Channukay 2012 or Independence Day, 2012, you draw out your scents. We need not limit it to holidays. Scent masters can capture and duplicate the smells associated with all your major life moments. Wedding, wedding night...when your children are born...their first bowel movement....
I saw an article a few months ago about a dating craze where people sleep in tee shirts and then bring them in for others to smell. I have to ask, can scent chemists duplicate those smells? Companies can just duplicate the smells of someone who scores really high on a smell date and then sell it. Since people wear the tee shirts while they sleep at night, we can call it something like Night Scents and just number them. I can see them selling at high end places like Neiman Marcus, or lower end places like late night cable television. "A national survey of men who smelled Night Scents Number 1672 preferred her nocturnal odors over other women by six to one."
I wonder if that's how we ended up with Chanel No. 5?
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com