The smell of the moon …

moonApollo 17 astronaut Jack Schmitt was the first in the history of a man who suffered an attack of hay fever, is the chapels ground. The attack began quite rapidly – as Jack took off his helmet, after the first walk on the moon, he immediately felt that his nose is stuffed up.

A strange voice astronaut attention in Hstone as he gave the message. It was a reaction to the lunar dust. The same reaction, but to a lesser degree, was with him and after the second and the third exit at the moon. It is quite possible that it has acquired a sort of immunity to the lunar dust.

Other astronauts, pilots did not experience bouts of hay fever, or did not report them. The fact is that when such symptoms immediately to withdraw the pilot to Earth. Jack was also a geologist so he boldly reported on their feelings. Besides, Jack was a very sensitive nose, his mucous easily offended by the smell of chemicals in Hstone. Probably because of his sensitive nose Schmitt felt a lihordki hay, while others astronauts ispytavili this. But the smell felt all. Apollo 16 pilot Charlie Duke Hston radioed in: “This is a very strong smell, the smell of burnt gunpowder, and even the taste is similar to gunpowder.” Gene Jerman also said: “There was a smell like someone burned something in the cockpit, and it seems that the powder. “

In fact, moondust and gunpowder – are two different things. Modern smokeless powder is a mixture of nitrocellulose and nitroglitsirina and both flammable organic molecules were detected in the lunar dust. This is the official conclusion Laboratory NASA. “A match to moondust it flashes” – says Gary Lofren of Lunar Laboratory at the Johnson Space Center.

But what is a lunar dust? Almost half the dust – is silica – glass – is formed by heating the surface of the meteorite. Over billions of years, the glass had time to raft and decays to very small particles. In the lunar dust contains a lot of iron, calcium, and magnesium is in the minerals called olivine and piroksin. And nothing like gunpowder.

Why, then, it smells like gunpowder? No one knows.

ISS astronaut Don Petitt, who was not on the moon, but the space is studying smells, higher the next suggestion.`Imagine that you are in the desert in the world. What smell do you feel? No, as long until the rain. After him the air suddenly filled with the wonderful smell of freshness. The evaporated water will bring the nose of the molecule, which spent a month on dry land. Probably also occurs on the Moon. Moon – a desert with age 4 billion years. It is incredibly dry and when the lunar dust in contact with air inside the cabin of the lander, is the effect of “fresh smell after a rain in the desert.” That’s just the smell of freshness “Desert Moon” is very similar to the smell of burnt gunpowder. “

Gives a similar explanation and Moon Laboratory NASA. Moon dust is heated by the solar wind, and in contrast to the Earth’s surface is illuminated moon hot wind of hydrogen, helium and other ions that is emitted by the sun. These ions reach the lunar surface accumulates in the dust. Contacts with the atmosphere of the cabin, these ions readily take to the air and a man smells, in this case, people associate it with the smell of gunpowder.

There is another idea. The smell and the reaction to it due to the fact that the lunar dust is chemically active. Imagine how formilovalas moondust – meteorites constantly bomili lunar surface over billions of years. This process is similar to the grind stone with a hammer on the anvil, and so many years. The result could be the formation of active molecules with broken bonds. You breathe in such a composition, and what happens? Molecules interact with the molecules of the membrane of your nose and find the missing items. Your nose is stuffed up and you feel a strange smell, a little later, when the molecules regained lost that feeling weakened.

Another theory suggests that it is possible moondust “burns” in an oxygen atmosphere of the cabin module. Oxygen is the oxidizing agent, and is probably the spread of dust and with other substances, that is oxidized, and the oxidation process it is burning. This process can cause a smell of burnt gunpowder. It is no wonder that all the astronauts are talking about the smell of burnt gunpowder, while ordinary gunpowder smell differently.

It is curious that on Earth moondust not smell at all. In Lunar Laboratory NASA has dozens killogramm lunar dust and lunar rocks and they absolutely do not smell like burnt gunpowder. Can astronauts up the whole thing? No. There is a better explanation. Moondust on Earth “passivated.” All samples are extracted astronauts have been in contact with air, oxygen-enriched so that any chemical reaction capable of producing smells ended long ago. Although this should not have happened, because the samples were transported in sealed containers. However, over the three day flight to the Earth, the sharp edges of the particles of lunar dust and broken the seal containers penetrated molecules of oxygen and water vapor.

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