Smell of space is funny, say Discovery pilots

March 29th, 2009 - 1:50 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Mar 29 (ANI): The space shuttle Discovery and its crew of seven have safely returned to Earth. But the one thing pilots can’t get out their noses is space’s “weird” smell.

“One thing I’ve heard people say before, but it wasn’t so obvious, was the smell right when you open up that hatch,” Live Science quoted Discovery pilot Dominic “Tony” Antonelli, as saying after a March 21 spacewalk.

“Space definitely has a smell that’s different than anything else,” Antonelli added.

The scientist revealed that the “odd” odor could be smelled once spacewalkers locked the station airlock’s outer hatch and reopened the inner door.

Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata, who launched to the station aboard Discovery, claimed that he too could smell the odd odor that wafted in from outside the station.

According to ex-NASA astronaut Thomas Jones, a veteran of three spacewalks, the odor could stem from atomic oxygen that clings to spacesuit fabric.

“When you repressurize the airlock and get out of your suit, there is a distinct odor of ozone, a faint acrid smell,” Jones told, adding that the smell is also similar to burnt gunpowder or the ozone smell of electrical equipment.

“It’s not noticeable inside the suit. The suit smells like plastic inside,” he added.

Discovery’s 13-day flight - which ended just as a new Russian-launched crew was settling into the space station -was highlighted by the installation and unfurling of the station’s last pair of solar wings. (ANI)

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