Speed Reads


NASA has a professional smeller

NASA has a professional smeller

Meet George Aldrich, the man who gives all space-bound items the go-ahead — by giving them a sniff test.

Aldrich has worked with NASA for nearly 40 years, smelling things before they go into space. Gizmodo reports that "smells don't get quite aired out in space as they do back home." Odors can linger for years in a space station since there isn't additional, fresh air available, so NASA keeps a vigilant watch on the odors that are allowed into space.

The Telegraph reports that Aldrich's official title is "staff sniffer," and he has worked at NASA for 38 years. "My friends and family think I'm a little crazy," Aldrich says in the video. Typical items Aldrich inspects include books, hats, glues, and watches, in addition to specialized space equipment.

The Science Channel created a fun video profile of Aldrich and his job, noting that if Aldrich "fails to identify just one problematic pong, a whole mission could be in jeopardy." Watch Aldrich's olfactory skills in action in the video below. --Meghan DeMaria