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Composition of the Atmosphere

Nitrogen and oxygen are the major gases in the atmosphere; the minor gases include carbon dioxide.

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Space Stinks
Teacher Contributed

Space Stinks!


The Smell of Space

Student Exploration

Does space stink?

What do you think that these two astronauts are thinking about as they replaced a module and collected a test sample? Do you think that they were contemplating how long they could hold their breath?

According to astronauts, space stinks! They have described it as an odorous metallic smell. Check it out: http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2011-01/fyi-what-does-space-smell

What could be causing this stench? How can we replicate the smell?

Extension Investigation

1. Don’t believe it? Here are first person astronaut accounts of the smell of space:

Interview of an astronaut sharing the smells of space:
Another astronaut describes this in his space chronicle: http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/station/crew/exp6/spacechronicles4.html What do you think is creating the stench? Do you think that all of space smells the same way?

2. Is this the next hot perfume? NASA has hired a chemist to recreate the smell of space! Here is an interview with him: http://dsc.discovery.com/space/im/smell-space-steve-pearce.html

Why would it be helpful to recreate the smell of space? How could it help us learn more about our solar system?

Resources Cited

NASA. http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/imagegallery/iotd.html#



Discovery. http://dsc.discovery.com/space/im/smell-space-steve-pearce.html

Popular Science. http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2011-01/fyi-what-does-space-smell

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