Cold knowledge: does the lunar soil smell like gunpowder?
Cold knowledge: does the lunar soil smell like gunpowder?
Why? No one knows.

recently saw a cold knowledge: Apollo astronauts said that the lunar soil (moondust) smells like burned gunpowder.

according to NASA, several Apollo astronauts have mentioned the smell of gunpowder in the lunar soil, and the astronauts have military background and are indeed quite familiar with the smell of gunpowder after shooting, so this statement should be more reliable.

for example, Charlie Duke, an astronaut on the Apollo 16 mission, said that the lunar soil "has a strong smell" and "tastes like gunpowder, but also smells like gunpowder." Astronaut Gene Cernan said during the Apollo 17 mission that the lunar soil "smells like someone just fired a gun here."

many astronauts have smelled or even tasted lunar soil, which is not entirely because they are particularly curious about lunar soil. In fact, part of the reason is that the fine-grained lunar soil is easily attached to their spacesuits and is difficult to clean, so it is inevitable to come into contact with them. Of course, these things must have happened after returning from the lunar surface to the lunar module, and there is no way to smell the lunar soil outside the module.

(Apollo 17 astronaut Jack Schmitt, whose spacesuit turned gray from lunar soil)

but the problem is that no one knows exactly where the smell is coming from. The lunar soil samples that flew back to Earth and sent to the laboratory did not find any chemicals related to the smell of gunpowder, and the main components of the lunar soil were naturally very different from those of gunpowder. There are several hypotheses about this phenomenon, for example, it may be that ions from the solar wind react with the air in the cabin to produce some odorant substances, but these are only hypotheses and cannot be confirmed now. If we really want to confirm this phenomenon and the reasons behind it, I am afraid we can only rely on landing on the moon again and collecting fresh lunar soil for analysis.


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