Comets Smell Like Rotten Eggs and Urine


Thu, Oct 30th, 2014 20:00 by capnasty NEWS

Using its mass spectrometers, the Rosetta spacecraft got a whiff from the coma of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, discovering that comets smell pretty awful.

"The perfume of 67P/C-G is quite strong, with the odour of rotten eggs (hydrogen sulphide), horse stable (ammonia), and the pungent, suffocating odour of formaldehyde. This is mixed with the faint, bitter, almond-like aroma of hydrogen cyanide," said ROSINA principal investigator Kathrin Altwegg.

"Add some whiff of alcohol (methanol) to this mixture, paired with the vinegar-like aroma of sulphur dioxide and a hint of the sweet aromatic scent of carbon disulphide, and you arrive at the 'perfume' of our comet."



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