How the Universe Smells
About the smell of celestial bodies
»Since the moon landing, we have access to lunar soil samples, but there is not much known about the chemical composition of other celestial bodies. As long as it is not possible to get samples of other celestial bodies via manned or unmanned spacecrafts, the scientist must depend on methods that allow only indirect conclusions.«¹ Since ancient times, we have tried to develop an image of the universe using various approaches. The potential of science, fiction and myth to supply detail is insufficient, especially when it comes to the question of how the universe smells.
*1 F. L. Boschke, Erde von anderen Sternen. Der Flug der Meteorite, 1970
Assuming that we have access to the highest resolution of familiar smells on our own planet, this experiencable knowledge diminishes very quickly as we move out into the universe. According to accounts, the NASA astronaut Alan Bean reported in a conference that his space suit smelt like rotten eggs after a moon walk¹. If one decodes the composition of astronomical objects using scientific procedures, it should be possible to reproduce the approximate smell of other worlds from terrestrial substances. How it smells on Mars, Venus, Saturn and Pluto, respectively, or if the outer areas of the Milky Way smell like pine – to fill all this with content remains a challenge to our powers of imagination.
*1 Source: Fiona Raby during a conversation with coffee and cake, 2007