The Smell of Space

The Smell of Space

We have a good idea of how other planets would smell based on their composition. Sulfur and other gases make Venus and Mars stink like rotten eggs. Jupiter actually has multiple layers with slightly different smells. Somewhat ironically, Uranus wouldn't really have a smell based on its atmospheric makeup of mostly Hydrogen and Helium. The moon apparently smells like gunpowder. Moon dust is comprised of mainly silicon dioxide, and rich in iron, calcium and magnesium. Its makeup isn't like gunpowder, but it is the only one we have actual firsthand accounts for: Source: NASA Astronaut dialog about lunar dust: "I wish I could send you some," says Apollo 17 astronaut Gene Cernan. "It's amazing stuff." It's taste is "not half bad," according to Apollo 16 astronaut John Young. "...it smells like spent gunpowder," says Cernan."

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Key Facts In This Video

  • 1

    Venus smells of rotten eggs because of large quantities of sulfuric acid in its toxic atmosphere. (0:19)

  • 2

    Jupiter's atmosphere has multiple layers, each with their own (gross) scent. (1:09)

  • 3

    Uranus likely doesn't have much of a detectable odor. (1:39)

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