Thursday, October 23, 2008

Smelling Outer Space (Dumb Science)

In Futurama, one of Professor Farnsworth's zany inventions includes the Smell-o-Scope (pictured above), which allows people to smell objects anywhere in the Universe. Though completely ridiculous because, as the little brat Cubert points out: "Everyone knows smell is created by molecules that don't move though space."

Personally, I'd never think that smelling what's in space would be very beneficial, but some of our real life scientists disagree. A British chemist is chemically recreating the smell of space at NASA's request. They think it will help astronauts adjust to space walks. According to Yahoo:

Mr Pearce [aka the chemist] said: "We have a few clues as to what space smells like. First of all, there were interviews with astronauts that we were given, when they had been outside and then returned to the space station and were de-suiting and taking off their helmets, they all reported quite particular odours.

"For them, what comes across is a smell of fried steak, hot metal and even welding a motorbike, one of them said."

He added: "We have already produced the smell of fried steak, but hot metal is proving more difficult. We think it's a high energy vibration in the molecule and that's what we're trying to add to it now."

Anyone else think this is a completely ridiculous waste of tax dollars?

Related posts:
Science in the 21st and a Half Century!
Traveling Between Dimensions and Daily Life
My New Theory of the Universe

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2 comments:

Stacey K said...

Wow! Although I love my job, at times I feel like it's really pointless in the grand scheme of things. Your post showed me that mine is far less pointless than stuff the government pays people to do.

So many places to spend tax dollars and this is what seems like a good idea. Maybe I can get a federal grant to study the effect of red balloon dogs on people's moods. Seems about as valid to me.

badabum said...

I don't get it. They're in enclosed space-suits, hence there is no way even a single molecule can get in there, only thing they could smell are (after re-entering space capsule - ISS or whatever) the effects space left on outside layers of the suit itself.

Or am I missing something? What's next, making sure they don't catch... alergies? :)