Since the dawn of humanity, we have gazed up at the stars, pointed at celestial bodies and asked ourselves: “What does that smell like?”
At long last we have an answer to the question that has burned at our very cores for millennia. Turns out comets smell a little like cat urine, rotten eggs and bitter almonds.
That’s the assessment given by a writer for New Scientist who was sent to get a whiff of a new perfume, commissioned by Colin Snodgrass of the UK’s Open University based on data collected from the 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko comet by the Philae lander.
The scent was created for Snodgrass by The Aroma Company, and subsequent smellings lead some of the researchers to claim that the aroma isn’t all that bad when you get past your first impressions. Apparently, there are floral notes “similar to lily”.
If you fancy smelling the comet yourself (and why wouldn’t you?), you can stick a lily in your cat’s litter box. Alternatively, they’ll be handing out postcards imprinted with the scent at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition in London next month.