Attention space travelers: That new space capsule may smell good, but that aroma isn’t good for you. NASA’s Goddard Laboratory is on the case:
“For some people, the best part about buying a new car is its factory-fresh new car smell, a distinctive aroma created when the chemicals and residual solvents used to manufacture dashboards, car seats, carpeting and other vehicle appointments that outgas and fill the cabin. While the scent may be alluring to some, many researchers believe exposure to these gases isn’t particularly healthy — so unhealthy, in fact, that some recommend that drivers keep their new cars ventilated while driving.
Outgassed solvents, epoxies, lubricants, and other materials aren’t especially wholesome for contamination-sensitive telescope mirrors, thermal-control units, high-voltage electronic boxes, cryogenic instruments, detectors and solar arrays, either. As a result, NASA engineers are always looking for new techniques to prevent these gases from adhering to instrument and spacecraft surfaces and potentially shortening their lives.