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When the astronauts took off their helmets inside the LM after their moonwalk, they noticed a strong odor. Neil described it as “wet ashes in a fireplace” and Buzz as “spent gunpowder”. It was the smell of moondust. NASA, by the way, had been worried that moondust might explode on contact with oxygen.
ISS astronaut Don Pettit, who has never been to the moon but has an interest in space smells, offers one possibility:
"Picture yourself in a desert on Earth," he says. "What do you smell? Nothing, until it rains. The air is suddenly filled with sweet, peaty odors." Water evaporating from the ground carries molecules to your nose that have been trapped in dry soil for months.
Maybe something similar happens on the moon.
"The moon is like a 4-billion-year-old desert," he says. "It's incredibly dry. When moondust comes in contact with moist air in a lunar module, you get the 'desert rain' effect--and some lovely odors." (For the record, he counts gunpowder as a lovely odor.)
Originally posted by Nohup
they noticed subtle traces of their comrade's funk. Space food stick and Tang farts.