Have you ever wondered what the moon smells like?
In an article for Nature magazine, French “fragrance sculptor” and retired scientific consultant Michael Moiseev says his latest creation was inspired by a description of the lunar surface by one of the first humans to walk on the moon more than half a century ago.
“I based the smell I produced – like that of secondhand smoke – on Buzz Aldrin’s description of what he felt when he took off his helmet in the lunar module on the Moon in 1969,” Moiseev wrote.
The consultant is working on the fragrance for the Space City museum in Toulouse, France, which is close to where he lives and works.
In his 2009 book Magnificent Desolation, Buzz Aldrin, who was the second man to set foot on the lunar surface, recalled that when he and fellow pioneer astronaut Neil Armstrong returned to their lander and realized they were covered in moon dust, they were greeted by “a sharp metallic smell, something like smoke or the smell in the air after a firecracker goes off”.
In a 2015 interview with Space.com, Aldrin elaborated on his description of the lunar aroma, describing it as smelling “like burnt charcoal or like the ashes that are in a fireplace, especially if you sprinkle a little water on it.”
Aldrin is not the only Apollo astronaut who commented on the smoke-like smell of the lunar regolith, writes hicomm.bg.
“All I can say is that everyone’s immediate impression was that the smell was smoke, not that it was ‘metallic’ or ‘pungent,'” Harrison “Jack” Schmidt, an astronaut from the ” Apollo 17,” which participated in one of the last missions to the moon in 1972. “The smell of second-hand smoke is probably more etched in our memories than other such smells.”
Unless spaceflight technology rapidly becomes cheaper and more accessible in the next few decades, most of us won’t have the chance to ever smell the moon for ourselves. But luckily, we may be able to smell an imitation in Toulouse, France, or anywhere else where skilled “fragrance sculptors” simulate the scent of moon dust.
Photo by Joonas kääriäinen: