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NASA Sniffer

For some jobs it's up to dogs to smell danger. At NASA it's up to George Aldrich to put his nose to work and sniff out any problems. He's in charge of 25 people who have to smell everything that goes into space. George tells New Scientist Magazine that smells change in space and once you're up there you're stuck with them. He works in the New Mexico desert and smells everything from sneakers to adult diapers.

Why He's Gotta Smell It All

Things smell different in space because of the confined space and the heat. "Think of a new car," explains George. "If you parked it in normal weather with the window open, that new car smell would be there in the background. But if you parked it in the sun on a sweltering day with the windows up, then the smell would be pretty overpowering. You'd be speeding up the evaporation of the chemicals."

George smells anything that goes inside a space shuttle. Here are a list of some of the things he's smelled: paints, magic markers, socks, shaving cream, tennis shoes, deodorized and non-deodorized tampons, adult diapers, a guitar and the case and toy animals like Chuckie Bear and Barney. FYI - astronauts wear diapers when they are out doing space walks and other circumstances where they just might need one. "We rejected some mascara from Sally Ride. She was the first American female astronaut and we tested a lot of things for her," says George.

Smell... I Mean Sound Appealing?

Does this job smell... I mean sound appealing? George explains how he became a NASA sniffer. "I never really thought much about whether I had a good sense of smell. I started with NASA in the fire department when I was 18. I was young and healthy and they asked me to be on their Odor Panel. I've now done 744 'smell missions' over 100 more than anyone else," explains George.

To get the job he had to pass a special physical. "You can't have any allergies or respiratory problems and they frown on high blood pressure. NASA wants healthy test subjects and if you have a lot of allergies your nasal passages are already irritated and cannot be used. And then you have to be able to smell. We have what we call the "10-bottle test": seven of them have odors and three of them are blanks. We have to certify our noses every three months like this."

Being a professional sniffer might make a few people chuckle but the job is very important. "For all the money it takes to get the shuttle off the ground, it's pointless if they have to abort the mission because of an odor inside the capsule," says George. "It is even more important because of the space station. The shuttle will be regularly supplying the astronauts up there with fresh supplies and taking away all their waste. I wouldn't be doing it if I didn't think it was important."

So what does George's business card say? "I call myself a nasal-naut. I've got a picture of the shuttle with the solid rocket boosters and my daughter has drawn a little skunk. Right in the middle it says: "If something smells in the space programme I'll be there to get wind of it."

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What Wouldn't You Smell?

  • Dirty diapers.
  • Moldy food.
  • My dad's armpits.
  • I would smell anything for money.

Dear Dish-It In The Forums

drowning
drowning posted in Friends:
Did something happen between you two in the past? If so, I feel like she might have some unresolved issues with you that you need to discuss with her. And, time doesn't always mean a lot. I've gotten closer to someone before compared to someone whom I had known for 8 years.
reply about 5 hours
country_girl19
country_girl19 posted in Friends:
Dear Dish-it,                          Me and my friend just started talking again, and it seems like she regrets it. She'll leave me for the people she has only known for a couple of months, when I've been friends with her for a year. Also, she gets annoyed with me, and I don't know what to do.
reply about 5 hours
drowning
drowning posted in Family Issues:
I'll be honest, I don't think that it's very fair that you're placing so much blame on your mother. Cancer is very hard to heal in any animal or person. She may of been able to help one spot, but that doesn't mean that she was going to be able to heal the rest. There's a slim chance that they could of made it through, but it's probably for the best that she put him down. Cancer is a painful thing to go through for dogs and humans alike. It would of been worse to push it. As for the depression, I understand where you're coming from with it. It's a difficult thing to go through and it makes things hard to do. I've struggled with things in the past and sometimes still do, so take my word on this: Eat. What. You. Can. Don't starve yourself. Don't binge. Don't do anything. Keep eating. Your health matters too. You need to find things to do, like hobbies (drawing, reading, writing, ect.) and spend time with friends when you can. At least talk to your friends, don't push them away. They're there for you, even when they might not know how to be. Don't be ashamed to cry, it's perfectly fine too. It's a better alternative of getting things out than a lot of things you could be doing. Do not, under any circumstances, start cutting. Take it from someone who's dealt with it on a personal level in several ways, do not start it. It is not something you "won't get addicted too" and it will not be a "one time thing." Do not try it. Do not start it. Do not try to find "softer" alternatives to cutting. Self-harm is not a fixer, it does not help anything. It isn't something to be ashamed of. It's a personal issue along with mental illness. But it is a very big deal. "And to go and kill him like that instead of getting him help?" There isn't always a place to help. Sometimes it won't do the things we wish it would.
reply about 12 hours
RavenClawRaina
My dog, Loki, was old and had cancer. He was 14. My mom healed one of his cancer spots but not even a month later, she put him down. He had life in him. He played like a puppy. If she healed one spot, why couldnt she heal the rest? He could have lived right? He was like my little brother, I loved him like one. He was family. Every since he passed, Ive been depressed. Losing weight and not wanting to go out and hangout with friends. Me and my mom get into fights more. At some points, I hate her for what she did. I dont dare tell anyone about my depression and I cry every night until 3:30 am. I have considered cutting but I dont want anyone to judge me. Im not going to but I just want someone to understand what his loss did to my heart. Ive had him since i was a baby. He was my best friend. And to go and kill him like that instead of getting him help? I was mad. Can anyone relate? Can someone help me? ( im not going to a therapist btw ) UGH WHAT DO I DO?!  
reply about 15 hours
Pokemonlegends05
Sometimes Video Games can Cheer you up as well. Happy, Vibrant Games: New Super Mario Bros. U Pokemon Shuffle Any of the Mario Party games. Minecraft Super Mario 3d world (Wow, a ton of Mario games :p) Jak and Daxter Super Mario 64 These are useful for making this :e into this  =(
reply 6 days