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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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4 Comments

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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

partydiva01
partydiva01 posted in Friends:
Dear dish it, my friend first met eachother on the first day of kindergarten we sat next to one another and we became close. we were BFF's throughout 1st to 2nd grades. then, the second grade teacher realized there were alot of kids in the class. and same w the 3rd grade teacher. so, we had to have a split class. my friend was in the split. I was not. It all seemed like the teachers were doing somthing... weired. all the girls (well, almost there were only 6 girls on one half) were in the split. and all the boys were in regular . AND YOU KNOW WHAT ELSE WAS WEIRED! :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( all the boy BFF's and the girl BFF's were SPLIT. me and my friend,kids named Nia & Georgia, Isaac& Ethan, and more. it was so sad for all of us.2 months later, I got homschooled. 2 years later im back in public with my 4th grade self. everything had changed. a bunch of people were obsessed w\ a girl my age named kassidy. im neighbors w\ kassidy and she is REALLY cool and nice. but the whole I  [s:sm3/1jw1] kassidy crew got mean. if I asked them to play they would say. "If Kassidy is playing I will" or I would want to be parteners with kassidy on something and they would freak out. anyway jasmine NEVER invited my to anything, and I am trying to be nice to her ( ice cream money, homework help, comfort when sad, ect.) And not to mention I invited her to 3 things!!! on the bright side she came to 2 :thumbsup :thumbsup she also embarassed me by saying that she was moving I freaked out  because I cared about her and I would cry all the time. I even held onto her and said sadly, "PLEASE DON'T GO!!  :sad :sad . later i found out that she was not moving, she was going to CA for a vacation. even the teacher was in on it!! :mad :mad anyways, my parents told me that i should just let go of her. But i am not ready. HELP??? :e :e :e :e :e
reply 3 days
PittsburghPenguinsFanatic
When I was a child I wanted glasses SOO bad, cuz I wanted to copy my mom and sister. And also, I thought they looked cool. I wear glasses now. I have had them for 2 years and honestly I don't mind them. Although, this year I am gonna pry get contacts for swimming better and stuff like that. But if you don't need glasses I wouldn't recommend wearing them. They're not bad, but trust me after a while you will pry not like them as much. But hey, that's my opinion. If you want to do it I'm not gonna stop you. Do what makes you happy in the long run. And tell your friends that they are non prescription if you don't need them, but still get some.
reply 4 days
Bratayley_Fan_7
She is not. I have faced this problem before so I know. You should make a new friend!
reply 4 days
ValenciaRose
ValenciaRose posted in Friends:
I agree I was afraid of that first too. Eventually I just began inviting my friends over and they don't use it/practically obsess over it like I do but they understood why I use kidzworld and not many other forms of social media. 
reply 4 days
ValenciaRose
ValenciaRose posted in Friends:
"btw_sports_rule" wrote:I really like a guy and people think he likes me. I like him but im really scared to tell anyone. I really need help but i don't know who to talk to. I can't talk to parents. They would put me in trouble for falling in love. They believe I can't date until age 20. Aw, well, my advice for you would be to talk to your parents about it. There's no point trying to sneak around like those films and it is better for your mind if you talk to them about it. It can be super difficult I know but if you and your parents get along really well then you guys can talk about it and make it work. On the other hand, if your parents ban you from falling in love as you put it, then I think it's better just to stay as friends with him. 
reply 4 days