Scientists Turn the Rosetta Comet Into a Very Unpleasant Perfume

Thursday, 23 June 2016 - 1:07PM
Weird Science
Thursday, 23 June 2016 - 1:07PM
When the Rosetta spacecraft explored comet 67P, it found traces of gases like hydrogen sulphide, ammonia and hydrogen cyanide, which broadly smell of sulfur (aka rotten eggs), cat urine, and bitter almonds. Now, scientists have teamed up with a scent firm to create a perfume that smells like a comet, and it smells about as terrible as one would expect.

New Scientist got to experience this real-life Smell-O-Scope, and described the smell as "sharp," "unpleasant," and so strong that it feels like "a physical presence inside [the] skull." It wasn't taken directly from those gases, since some of them are poisonous, but was crafted to smell very much like a comet--and therefore pretty gross.

To be fair, comets likely wouldn't smell as strongly as the perfume. Most of the atmosphere is composed of odorless gases, so in the words of researcher Colin Snodgrass, they "picked the things that are the smelliest." But still, this perfume is quite literally a distilled version of the odor of a comet.

Opening quote
"If you could smell a comet, this is what you would get, but it would be difficult to actually smell it," said Snodgrass. "If you are standing there without your space suit, you're not going to notice the smell, you're just going to notice the lack of air."
Closing quote
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