The scent was recreated by NASA decades ago to help astronauts acclimate to space during training.
Now, a perfume, Eau de Space, has attracted eager buyers where it’s trial orbit on Kickstarter has raised $516,000 in preorders.
“The history of the ‘smell of space’ has been clouded behind various accounts of its development. Ever since the first space walk, astronauts were shocked by the lingering odor when returning back into the spacecraft,” according to the campaign on Kickstarter.
NASA Astronaut Col. Chris Hadfield said, “The only time you can smell space is when you come back in from a space walk. As you open the hatch, there is a distinctive smell.”
Hadfield told Wired magazine that space smells sort of like brimstone, as if a witch had just been there – which, speaking for myself, is less helpful. He theorizes that space doesn’t smell like anything so much as the vacuum of space sucks trace chemicals out of the walls of a spacecraft.
Some describe it as rum, fruit, seared steak, or a BBQ. The first space tourists also noted a pungent aroma once the hatch opened, “like burnt cookies”.
Gene Cernan, the Apollo 17 Astronaut remarked about another scent he experienced: “The moon smells like spent gunpowder.”
“The smell of space is so distinct that…NASA reached out to a fragrance maker to re-create the odor for its training simulations,” according to NASA documents obtained through a freedom of information request.
Now, the makers have partnered with award winning perfumers, and report that they’ve secured exclusive commercial contracts to reproduce the secret shelved formula based on verified astronaut accounts.
Though not affiliated with NASA, every $29 bottle purchased of Eau de Space will also help support STEM programs for students, through a buy-one-give-one program.
“For every bottle of Eau de Space you buy, we’re going to donate one to a K-12 Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM) program” for low-income students.
“It’s a big promise, and isn’t the best decision for a company trying to make a profit. But, we really believe in the cause and hope you do too. Imagine if a child that smells Eau de Space today is inspired to become an astronaut, scientist, or engineer.”
It will be made in the UK utilizing living-wage labor and environmentally-friendly practices, including zero manufacturing waste, according to the campaign. 11,000 people have become supporters and there’s still 21 days left to order.
If you don’t have $29, you don’t have to go to the moon to catch a whiff—the scent will soon be orbiting around an Earthling near you.