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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

bnz05
bnz05 posted in Friends:
Hii, i want to give advice to all of you about this subject. first of all, always trust your BFF. why?, it's because she/he is the one who makes you feel like a family and always be there with you. Second, always remember your BFF where ever you are. i got this idea from my bff whose not n the same school with me. 8 February was her birthday while i said happy birthday to her 2 day later (i know i'm the worst). i literally panicked and said sorry to her like a thousand times. while she said "it's okay, i'm glad someone in your school (because some of us transfers here at my new school too) remembers my birthday, maybe all of them already forget me" she answered (which i'm touched). and the last, never ever betray your BFF. like i said at the start, they are like your family and will do anything for you to be happy. so keep their trust too. and that's all from me, hope it's helpful. love ya [s:sm3/1jw1]
reply about 4 hours
esthery27
esthery27 posted in Friends:
I think you should just be yourself and be patient. You will find some eventually
reply about 6 hours
mococospartan
mococospartan posted in Friends:
"mococospartan" wrote:You see i am very POPULAR at school but the truth is im popular but dont have any true friends the end 
reply about 7 hours
mococospartan
mococospartan posted in Friends:
You see i am very POPULAR at school but the truth is im popular but dont have any true friends the end 
reply about 7 hours
bffeaea
bffeaea posted in Friends:
I don't know you and I'm not exactly sure how you act, but being friendly is definitely the way to go. Don't change yourself for ANYBODY. Especially someone who you don't need to impress. Speaking of impressing, don't try, do. If you are telling a story and that happens to impress them than that's great! But don't go out of your way to try to make yourself look awesome because I'm sure you already are. Be yourself. But the most important thug now you can do is not try to make a million friends. Because personally I would rather have one AWESOME friend than a million ok friends. I hope this helped. :)
reply 1 day