What Does Moon Smell Like…


Apparently, like gunpowder! “It is really a strong smell,” radioed Apollo 16 pilot Charlie Duke. “It has that taste — to me, [of] gunpowder — and the smell of gunpowder, too.” On the next mission, Apollo 17, Gene Cernan remarked, “smells like someone just fired a carbine in here,” reports Science@NASA. Read the rest of the article here. Thanks to Tania.


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  • Mikhail: Well, Bandit was designed to suggest, among other things, the smell of a just fired, well oiled gun. And in its older incarnation indeed does.

    Not the current Sephora version with ‘authenticity certificate’ but the bigger bottles one can still easily get in perfume outlets in shopping malls. With golden lids, not black. They smell quite different (much better, richer!) although also, I guess, represent a later, changed version from the original Cellier formula which I have not tried.

    The sharp note in Iris Silver Mist? It’s the smell of stinkbugs on red currant bushes. If you eat berries from the bush, sometimes by accident you put one of these in your mouth. The smell of cilantro is somewhere in the vicinity of that note.

    But in the total composition of ISM this gives some glassy, fragile connotations, so it may indeed be a candidate for a moon perfume. February 3, 2006 at 9:16am Reply

  • Anya: So a perfumer could borrow that flinty, sulphurous note from SL’s Iris Silver Mist er, arsenal of materials. I just sampled this for the first time the other day, and picked up on the “just fired” sniff, and wrote about it, adding my comments on an old review on NST. It is the first time I ever picked up that note in a perfume, and I liked it a lot. Reminded me of firing cap guns as a kid, or smashing the dots of “cap” one by one with a rock. Ah, the power of perfume 😉 February 3, 2006 at 8:10am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Anya, interesting! I get nothing distinctly sulphurous from ISM, although it has a metallic touch that iris tends to have especially in certain combinations. February 4, 2006 at 4:48pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Mikhail, I do know that stinkbug note really well. As a child, I had such an intense fear of these insects, and I would avoid raspberry shrubs for this reason. I no longer have this fear, and in fact, I love the taste of cilantro. That scent is very unusual–metallic and oily, very persistent.

    The older versions of Bandit are closer to the original than the current version (certificate notwithstanding). Still, Bandit was so aggressive that even the reformulations could not take away the edge completely. February 4, 2006 at 4:51pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Risa, isn’t it absolutely fascinating! The particles of shattered glasses are rather strange to ponder though. February 4, 2006 at 4:52pm Reply

  • risa: i also saw that on Boing Boing and instantly thought “okay, that’s one of the coolest things i’ve ever heard.” that would not be a note i’d ever recognize, since i have always stayed away from guns if i could help it, but the fact that the moon not only smells but also *tastes* of it just tickles my astro-love like nothing i can imagine.

    i do get a bit weirded out at the idea of tiny floating particles of shattered glass, though. 😉 February 4, 2006 at 12:43pm Reply

  • Anya: The metallic, fleeting, introducted the sulphur — it was definitely there, and then slid right by. I could almost taste it. February 4, 2006 at 8:15pm Reply

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