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NASA via Unsplash

This NASA-designed fragrance smells exactly like outer space


TextAlex Peters

Ever wondered what space smells like?

Most of us – unless X AE A-XII’s daddy gets his way – will never travel into outer space. And being Earth-bound means, among other things, that we will never have the pleasure of knowing what space smells like. But soon we’ll be able to come pretty close. 

In 2008, NASA hired chemist Steve Pearce to develop the “smell of space” to help train astronauts before launch into orbit, part of its goal to eliminate any surprises astronauts might encounter or experience in space.

It took Pearce around four years to develop the fragrance which was then confined to astronaut-only field training, until now. Through “sheer determination, grit, a lot of luck, and a couple of Freedom of Information Act requests”, Matt Richmond and his team got their hands on the formula and they have now launched a Kickstarter to manufacture and release “Eau de Space” to the world.

Partnering with award-winning perfumers to produce the fragrance, the “Eau de Space” team’s main goal is to increase interest in STEM learning for students through “experiential education.” So far the Kickstarter has raised just under $50,000 from 1,647 backers, well past the original target of $1,600.

So what does space smell like? According to the team, astronauts have described the smell as “seared steak, raspberries, and rum,” although astronaut Peggy Whitson said in 2002 that it’s “kind of like a smell from a gun, right after you fire the shot. I think it kind of has almost a bitter kind of smell in addition to being smoky and burned.” 

To get your hands on a bottle, all you need to do is pledge $15 to the project and it will be sent your way in October. And, not only that, but due to the excitement around the perfume, Richmond revealed to CNN that they are now looking into releasing a fragrance called “Smell of the Moon.” It sounds out of this world!

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