Funky Finding: Study Confirms Uranus Smells Really Bad
"The science is in: Uranus stinks," NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory said in a tweet
Scientists have confirmed that the planet Uranus smells like farts and rotten eggs — and, yes, NASA already made the joke you're thinking of.
A team of scientists determined that the seventh planet from the sun, whose name has long made it the subject of schoolyard wisecracks, has hydrogen sulfide in the clouds surrounding its surface. That's the chemical behind the smell of rotten eggs, NASA said Tuesday in a news release. It's the same noxious gas behind the smell of passed gas.
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory put it more succinctly in a tweet: "The science is in: Uranus stinks."
The funky finding, published Monday in the journal Nature Astronomy, comes after an international team of researchers analyzed light from Uranus captured by a telescope atop Hawaii's highest mountain, Mauna Kea.
But its smell won't threaten human nostrils any time soon, according to the study's lead author.
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"Suffocation and exposure in the negative 200 degrees Celsius [392 degrees Fahrenheit] atmosphere made of mostly hydrogen, helium and methane would take its toll long before the smell," said Patrick Irwin, of Oxford University, in the NASA news release.
Jupiter and Saturn would have a different smell, according to the news release, since they've been found to have ammonia, not hydrogen sulfide, in their cloud decks.