Fragrance

Flowers scent is unique in microgravity.

Last updated: 2020-09-05

Status

International Flavors and Fragrances (IFF) sent roses into space in 2002 and later recreated the measured compounds, which were included in a fragrance "Zen" by Shiseido Cosmetics, but regular production did not follow.1

Applications

  • Unique scents for the fragrance industry.
  • Enhance food products flavors.
  • Connect new population segments to space and microgravity manufacturing.

Why & Solution

New fragrances are much sought after in the competitive perfume industry. Some years ago International Flavors and Fragrances (IFF)
researchers began to wonder, could space-traveling flowers yield something new and exotic? The answer might prove profitable, they figured. IFF is the leading creator and manufacturer of flavors and fragrances used by others to impart or improve flavor or fragrance in a wide variety of consumer products.2

The company expected the experiment to cause a shift in the scent of the rose, because gravity would no longer hold the plant oils in the stem. Even a slight shift would open up thousands of possibilities through combinational chemistry. Low-gravity should affect a flower's smell just as other environmental factors do.3

The rose actually produced fewer volatiles than it did on Earth. But the fragrance that it did generate was critically altered. The flower in space had a more "floral rose aroma," which is aesthetically pleasing.1

Lockheed Martin created a fragrance called Vector as a joke to capture the smell of space and bring it down to Earth.

References