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Houston Matters

What Does Space Smell Like? Astronaut Scott Kelly Reflects On His Year In Space

Astronaut Scott Kelly says there is a distinct smell when you’re in space. Describing that smell is just one of the many insights in his memoir, Endurance, which chronicles the year he spent on the International Space Station.

Just before the 15th anniversary of continuous human presence on the International Space Station on Nov. 2, 2015, U.S. astronaut and commander of the Expedition 45 crew, Scott Kelly, poses next to a portal looking down on the earth.

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In March of 2016, astronaut Scott Kelly returned home to earth after spending nearly a full year aboard the International Space Station. He was participating in an experiment studying the long-term effects of living in space on the human body.

Now, Kelly has written a book about his time in space called Endurance. He’ll talk about his book and his experiences at an event for Brazos Bookstore at The Ballroom at Bayou Place downtown on Saturday night (Oct. 21).

Ahead of that appearance, Houston Matters producer Joshua Zinn caught up with Kelly and asked him what he missed the most about life on earth — and to explain how space smells. That’s right — space apparently has a smell.

  • NASA astronaut Scott Kelly works inside the U.S. Destiny Laboratory on board the International Space Station on Sept. 1, 2015. Destiny is the primary research laboratory for U.S. payloads, supporting a wide range of experiments. (Photo Credit: nasa.gov)
    NASA astronaut Scott Kelly works inside the U.S. Destiny Laboratory on board the International Space Station on Sept. 1, 2015. Destiny is the primary research laboratory for U.S. payloads, supporting a wide range of experiments. (Photo Credit: nasa.gov)
  • NASA astronaut Scott Kelly works inside the U.S. Destiny Laboratory on board the International Space Station on Sept. 1, 2015. (Photo Credit: nasa.gov)
    NASA astronaut Scott Kelly works inside the U.S. Destiny Laboratory on board the International Space Station on Sept. 1, 2015. (Photo Credit: nasa.gov)
  • Just before the 15th anniversary of continuous human presence on the International Space Station on Nov. 2, 2015, U.S. astronaut and commander of the Expedition 45 crew, Scott Kelly, poses next to a portal looking down on the earth. (Photo Credit: nasa.gov)
    Just before the 15th anniversary of continuous human presence on the International Space Station on Nov. 2, 2015, U.S. astronaut and commander of the Expedition 45 crew, Scott Kelly, poses next to a portal looking down on the earth. (Photo Credit: nasa.gov)
  • The Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft is seen as it lands with Expedition 46 Commander Scott Kelly of NASA and Russian cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Sergey Volkov of Roscosmos near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan on Wednesday, March 2, 2016 (Kazakh time). (Photo Credit: Bill Ingalls/NASA)
    The Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft is seen as it lands with Expedition 46 Commander Scott Kelly of NASA and Russian cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Sergey Volkov of Roscosmos near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan on Wednesday, March 2, 2016 (Kazakh time). (Photo Credit: Bill Ingalls/NASA)
  • Expedition 46 Commander Scott Kelly of NASA rests in a chair outside of the Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft just minutes after he and Russian cosmonauts landed in a remote area near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan on Wednesday, March 2, 2016 (Kazakh time). (Photo Credit: Bill Ingalls/NASA)
    Expedition 46 Commander Scott Kelly of NASA rests in a chair outside of the Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft just minutes after he and Russian cosmonauts landed in a remote area near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan on Wednesday, March 2, 2016 (Kazakh time). (Photo Credit: Bill Ingalls/NASA)

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Joshua Zinn

Joshua Zinn

Producer, Houston Matters

Joshua is a producer for Houston Matters on News 88.7 as well as the host of Encore Houston on Houston Public Media Classical. He joined Houston Public Media as a radio intern in 2014 and became a full-time announcer the following year. Now he prepares segments and occasionally records interviews...

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