Trivia

Hard

Moon Dust Smells Like?

Vinegar
Mulch
Old Books
Gunpowder
A photo of the lunar surface during the Apollo 15 mission.
NASA/Flickr

Answer: Gunpowder

They might have differing opinions on the most magical part of space travel or who the best baseball player in U.S. history is, but there’s one thing that all the Apollo program astronauts that came in contact with the Moon seem to agree on: Moon dust, or lunar soil, smells like spent gunpowder.

Despite the fact that lunar soil, composed of shattered silicon dioxide glass created by meteorite impacts (approximately 50 percent), iron, calcium, and magnesium (bound up in olivine, pyroxene, etc.), has nothing in common (other than a rough color resemblance) to gunpowder, the Apollo astronauts described its smell as such. Apollo 16 astronaut Charlie Duke radioed home, “It has that taste — to me, [of] gunpowder — and the smell of gunpowder, too.” Next trip, Apollo 17 astronaut Gene Cernan described the smell inside the cabin of the lander as “smells like someone just fired a carbine in here”, then in a later interview described the fine gray powder by saying “it smells like spent gunpowder”.

Although we don’t have a concrete reason as to why the soil took on a gunpowder like smell when the astronauts encountered it within the lander, one theory is that the tens of thousands of years of lunar impacts created broken chemical bonds within the soil. When exposed to the oxygen rich environment of the lander cabin, a cascade of tiny chemical reactions ensued. Whatever the reaction was, it reminded the astronauts strongly of the after effects of rifle fire.

Trivia

Hard

What Year Was The Times Square Ball Upgraded To LEDs?

Trivia

Easy

Lincoln Logs Were Invented By?

Trivia

Hard

Which Iconic Video Game Symbol Was Originally A Family Crest?

Trivia

Hard

After Whom Was Princess Zelda, Of The Legend of Zelda Fame, Named?

Trivia

Hard

The Only River In The World That Crosses Itself Is The?

Trivia

Hard

Which Planet Has Mysteriously Hexagonal and High-speed Storm?

Trivia

Easy

The Longest Traffic Jam In History Occurred Where?

Trivia

Easy

Which Spacecraft Will Soon Be The First To Leave Our Solar System?

Trivia

Hard

The Only Region On Earth Where Scientists Have Found No Evidence Of Active Microbial Life Is?

Trivia

Very Hard

The Highest Concentration Of Unique Mammals Is Found In?