The odor of the universe

In my travels through the internet I stumbled on a weird and wonderful fact: space is smelly. Genuinely – it isn’t like one of those science facts that is so laden with conditions and technicalities it turns out to be underwhelming.

Never one to shy from crediting my sources, I stumbled upon this fact when I saw the following buzzfeed.  Can you imagine going to a place in the universe where no man has ever been before, and realising it smells like a burnt almond cookie? That is strange.

I find in science you often seem to get simple questions with complex answers, or complex questions with simple answers. Well it is Friday so I treat you with the latter. Space is smelly, because of what is being pumped into it. Stars die, and when they do they emit a symphony of smelly by products. These things can be found all over the universe. Like everywhere. In a universe billions of light-years wide. The universe has a huge amount of carbon and very very little oxygen, which gives it the wonderful list of smells astronauts have named – including burnt meat and car fumes.

Word has it they are going to attempt to recreate the smell of space for us with two feet on the ground. On which matter – tomorrow we talk gravity.

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