A European spacecraft that has been orbiting a distant comet has been able to identify that the comet, 67P/C-G, smells like “being trapped in a stable with a load of rotten eggs and a drunk person,” reports NPR’s Morning Edition.
“It’s quite a smelly mixture,” researcher Kathrin Altwegg, a researcher at the University of Bern in Switzerland, told NPR’s Geoff Brumfiel.
Though one’s sense of smell is almost non-existent in space, the Switzerland-based Altwegg was able to pick up the odor on Earth using an instrument called ROSINA. The European Space Agency has since “posted a full rundown of the comet’s BO on its website,” and the smelly culprits include ammonia, hydrogen sulphide, and formaldehyde.
Until now, scientists hadn’t gotten close enough to comet to study its smell, but the ESA’s Rosetta mission is now just five miles from the surface of the comet.
"It's a little smelly, but at the moment it's a lot of fun to go to work every morning," Altwegg told NPR.
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Karen Lo is an associate editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @appleplexy.