It's a very specific scent.

Moon Smell

Ever wondered what the Moon smells like?

In an article for the journal Nature, French "scent sculptor" and retired science consultant Michael Moisseeff said his latest creation was inspired by the descriptions of what the lunar surface smells like from one of the first people to walk on the Moon over half a century ago.

"I based the [odor] I manufactured — like that of spent gunpowder — on Buzz Aldrin’s description of what he smelt when he took off his helmet in the lunar module on the Moon in 1969," Moisseeff wrote.

The consultant is working on a scent for the Space City museum in Toulouse, France, which is near where he lives and works.

Spent Gunpowder

In his 2009 book "Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home from the Moon," Aldrin, the second man to ever walk the lunar surface, recalled that when he and fellow pioneering astronaut Neil Armstrong got back into their lander and realized they were covered in lunar dust, they were met with "a pungent metallic smell, something like gunpowder, or the smell in the air after a firecracker has gone off."

In a 2015 interview, Aldrin expounded on his description of the Moon's aroma, describing it as smelling "like burnt charcoal, or similar to the ashes that are in a fireplace, especially if you sprinkle a little water on them."


Aldrin wasn't the only Apollo astronaut to comment on the gunpowder-like smell of the Moon's regolith.

"All I can say is that everyone's instant impression of the smell was that of spent gunpowder, not that it was 'metallic' or 'acrid,'" Harrison "Jack" Schmitt, an Apollo 17 astronaut who was on one of the last missions to the Moon in 1972, told "Spent gunpowder smell probably was much more implanted in our memories than other comparable odors."

Unless spacefaring technology becomes rapidly cheaper and more accessible in the next few decades, most of us won't get the chance to ever smell the Moon for ourselves. But fortunately, we may get the chance to smell an imitation in Toulouse, France, or anywhere else where crafty "scent sculptors" are simulating the aroma of lunar dust.

More on Moon materials: Ex-SpaceX Brothers Working on Spacecraft Powered by Moon Water

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