In space, no one can smell their espresso

Imagine living for months without being able to smell your espresso. This horror isn’t just imaginary — it’s everyday life for astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS).

As mentioned previously on this website, ISS astronauts finally got an espresso machine recently. But what they didn’t get was the ability to smell their espresso.

Why? Because in zero gravity you can’t pour liquids into cups. And even if you managed to get the liquid into a cup, it wouldn’t stay there for long. So in order to avoid getting liquid bubbles all over the place (and damaging expensive equipment) all liquids have to be consumed from a sealed bag with a straw. This means there’s no opportunity for your nose to smell the delicious liquid within.

So scientists have finally started working on 3d printing a special type of cup that lets the liquid pass by the astronaut’s nose. And while they might tell you this is about experimenting with fluid dynamics in zero gravity, I think we all know that it’s really about letting astronauts sip the perfect espresso in space.

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