Outer space smells like fried steak, hot metal and welding a motorbike, scientists said today.
Nasa has commissioned Steven Pearce, a chemist and managing director of fragrance manufacturing company Omega Ingredients, to recreate the smell of space in a laboratory.
His research will be used to help astronauts prepare for the conditions they will encounter in space.
The smell of space: Apparently a mixture of steak and hot metal... Just don't take your helmet off for dinner
Mr Pearce began working for Nasa in August and hopes to have recreated the smell of space by the end of the year.
He said: 'I did some work for an art exhibition in July, which was based entirely on smell and one of the things I created was the smell of the inside of the Mir space station.
'Nasa heard about it and contacted me to see if I could help them recreate the smell of space to help their astronauts.
'We have a few clues as to what space smells like. First of all, there were interviews with astronauts that we were given, when they had been outside and then returned to the space station and were de-suiting and taking off their helmets, they all reported quite particular odours.
Astronauts reported the distinctive smells when taking off their helmets following space-walks
'For them, what comes across is a smell of fried steak, hot metal and even welding a motorbike,' one of them said.
'The suggestion to us has been that it's about creating realism for their training, so they train the astronauts in their suits by putting them in big water tanks to simulate the loss of gravity and so it's just about making sure the whole thing is a realistic training exercise.
'We have already produced the smell of fried steak, but hot metal is proving more difficult. We think it's a high energy vibration in the molecule and that's what we're trying to add to it now.'
Mr Pearce visited Moorside High School in Manchester today to discuss the project, as part of the Manchester Science Festival.