We know what space smells like because people have been there.
A metallic odor clings to the suits, helmets, gloves, and tools of astronauts returning from space walks, like “pleasant sweet smelling welding fumes” says ISS Science Officer Don Pettit. nasa.gov/spacechronicles
We know what the Moon smells like, too.
According to Apollo astronauts, moon dust “smells like spent gunpowder,” and tastes “not half bad.” nasa.gov/smellofmoondust
No one has sniffed Martian dust yet, at least not with a human nose.
But future missions “could take a spectroscopic reading of the Martian atmosphere, then beam that information back to Earth” where the molecules could be recreated for anyone to sniff.
I can’t wait to order a scratch-and-sniff patch. Expect “sulfur, acids, magnesium, iron and chlorine compounds, all of which are sunbaked and wrapped in a carbon-dioxide-rich atmosphere.” scientificamerican.com/mars-smell-like
In my science fiction novels about the first colony on Mars, I started with the smell of the
Moon and added metallic overtones. But it’s acrid, too. I’ve worked in oil refineries and in copper extraction plants – sulfur is a strong part of the smell in both places and not pleasant at all.
I wonder how close I got?