Who says traditional aerospace contractors can’t have some fun, too?
On Monday, April 1—yes, April Fools’ Day—Lockheed Martin announced the release of a new fragrance that smells like space. The company describes the scent as featuring “a deep metallic base,” with a “clean, sterile feel that is balanced by a subtle yet seductive fiery undertone that burns off like vapor in the atmosphere, helping men, women and children everywhere smell like they’re floating through the cosmos.
The company also produced a slick “origin” video for the scent, dubbed Vector, featuring in-house astronaut Tony Antonelli. Antonelli has twice piloted a space shuttle into orbit, in 2009 and 2010.
“The first time I opened the hatch to help spacewalkers back inside, I was blown away by the strong and unique odor they brought back,” said Antonelli, who now leads Orion spacecraft mission planning for Lockheed Martin. “I had smelled nothing like it before and nothing like it since. Until now. Lockheed Martin has a history of achieving the impossible, but this is the dawn of a new scent and its most intoxicating achievement yet. The fragrance is truly out of this world.”
Yes, this an April Fool’s prank, but the company actually produced a limited batch of Vector for public consumption. You have a limited opportunity to get a sample by visiting this website. Ars was able to get our hands on a sample Monday morning, and naturally we tried it out. Be careful, a company official said, “a little goes a long way.” He was not wrong.
I seem to have a poorly developed sense of smell. But even my limited powers of whiff could immediately detect this odor. After rubbing the fragrance onto my hands, I smelled something dark and musky, charcoal-like. Certainly, I have never been to space. But the odor seemed familiar. And in the end, I did place the smell—it reminded me of opening a fresh bag of black mulch and spreading it around trees during the springtime. It was not unpleasant, but I’m not sure it would be particularly seductive or alluring. But then again, I’m 45 and married with kids, so those qualities are not exactly what I’m going for these days in a cologne.
This is not the first time a company has tried to bottle the scent of space. According to Robert Pearlman of CollectSpace, artists created 300 scratch-and-sniff images that were supposed to have the gunpowder-like smell of the Moon in 2010. More recently, an aroma company sought to capture the scent of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, and that was subsequently imprinted on postcards.