Astronaut Describes Missions and Smell of Space

Updated: 02/26/2014 7:47 AM
Created: 02/25/2014 10:46 PM
By: Tim Sherno

Ask a NASA astronaut about his time in space and you're likely to hear about the tightly scheduled days filled with experiments and research. But that's not all.

Dr. Tom Marshburn is a NASA astronaut who has been to the International Space Station twice, logging more than 68 million miles of space travel, completing four space walks. He knows space, including what space smells like.

Space walks are dangerous, highly complicated, technically demanding and require focus and precision. Each space walk requires a team effort from of every member of the crew aboard the International Space Station, as well as NASA. staff back on earth.

It was while Marshburn was helping other crew members conducting a space walk that he says he noticed something, "There is a specific smell of space."

That smell, according to Marshburn, is like bacon, and it can be detected on astronauts returning from a space walk.

"There is a certain odor about them that is the smell of space. It's almost a bacon, sweet-bacon smell." Marshburn says it could be the a smell released by the materials in the space suits, or it could be the actual smell of space, and that smell is bacon.

Dr. Marshburn says the work accomplished aboard the International Space Station has a direct impact on people back on earth and cites research on aging, as an example.

While much of the scientific experimentation done as the International Space Station flies over the heads of the people on earth, there is at least one thing that is an easy link between the people on the planet and those above it; the smell of bacon. 

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