Well, we can all rest easy.
That age-old question that has perplexed mankind since the dawn of time, or at least when he first began to appreciate food, has been answered.
What does space smell like?
Does it have an odour – or is it just tasteless and cold?
According to long duration astronaut Scott Kelly, who just returned from a year onboard the International Space Station, space does have a distinctive smell.
It smells like, well, burnt steak … an Aussie barbecue in fact!
Whenever a vehicle docks and the astronaut opens up the station hatch it’s very distinct.
Fellow crew members on a NASA blog post recently agreed, it has a pungent, sweet metallic smell.
Long-term astronaut Don Pettit described it like the smell of an arc welding torch when worked repairing heavy equipment for a small logging outfit.
“Incidentally, I remember bringing this up with Buzz Aldrin when I spent time with him at his home in California in 2010,” said Dave Reneke from Australasian Science magazine.
“Both he and Neil remarked how moon-dust had a similar smell.
“Buzz said it smelled very much like burnt gunpowder.
“Hey, I’ve cooked a few steaks in my time that pretty well fitted Buzz’s description!”
So space pongs, but what about the universe in general?
Well it must be universal (pardon the pun) simply because it’s all space.
It’s a big universe, but how big?
“I remember asking myself as a small wide-eyed seven-year-old boy that same question, Dave said.
“How big indeed!
“I wanted to know but I had to wait a long time for the answer.”
Only in this new millennium have astronomers basically agreed the universe began in a ‘Big Bang’ explosion about 14 billion years ago, from a bubble smaller than a pinhead that exploded into the universe we know today.
There was no space and time before the Big Bang. There wasn’t even a “before” to speak of.
Nobody really knows how big the universe is because we can’t actually see the edge of it.
We don't even know if it has an edge, so we say it’s infinite.
“Just imagine, everything we see in the night sky isn’t really there,” Dave said.
“The stars are so far away we see them as they were thousands, even millions of years ago!”
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