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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 Family Issues:
I'm an older sister to a 13 year old brother. Neither of us really agree on much, either. I prefer this, he prefers that. I prefer that, he prefers this. It's natural regarding age differences. Even just a years worth can hold plenty. It's best to meet in the middle with things. Like, my brother and I for instance don't really agree on anything. But, it's good to meet somewhere with things to do together whether its agreeing on a movie to watch or playing a video-game together. Even drawing or helping each other out with something. Just keep in mind, when it comes to this, you won't always want to do what they want.
reply about 6 hours
drowning
drowning posted in Family Issues:
I understand this situation. Personally, you can tell your sister if you're completely sure on what happen. But, make sure she stays quiet about it until you both come to an agreement on when you should confront your parents about what you saw.
reply about 6 hours
Sophieex_
Posts: 21 3 minutes ago I think I'm bi, too. And thanks for the words of wisdom @rainbowpoptart 
reply about 10 hours
Sophieex_
Here's something to think about @IlikeGUYS20, I can say this about myself, and I'm sure, from this post, you'd agree. I'd love to have a girlfriend, and I'd also love to have a boyfriend. I'd be open to date any gender that my romantic partner would claim. We should just see what makes us happy before we label ourselves. Thanks! :)Have a wonderful day!:rainbow ❤
reply about 10 hours
rainbowpoptart
You should grow comfortable with yourself before you come out. If you're not certain if you are indeed bi, then you shouldn't slap that label on yourself yet. Take some time to really think about how you feel, but don't worry too much about it. Your sexuality isn't everything. You have plenty of time to discover yourself as person. Don't rush it.
reply about 17 hours