Dude, Uranus Actually Reeks
Uranus -- the gas giant, third largest planet in our solar system, named for the Greek god of the heavens -- has a big stinky secret that's been masked by the vacuum of space since time immemorial: it smells like farts. Diligent Gizmodo reporter Ryan F. Mandelbaum confirmed it today after speaking with Mark Hofstadter, a planetary scientist at NASA.
Hofstadter made it clear that there's not nearly enough oxygen in the atmosphere for humans to even think about breathing. Of course, we already knew that from watching The Magic School Bus at a young and impressionable age. We also learned at a young and impressionable age that the word "Uranus" when spoken in English is an instantaneous lightning rod for comedy of almost any kind, which makes another one of Hofstadter's quotes so wonderful: “I think the smelliest things are probably... the hydrogen sulfide and the ammonia.”
If you know your chemistry, hydrogen sulfide is the substance that makes your farts, rotten eggs, and the boiling acid of Yellowstone National Park smell really bad. On Uranus, while the hydrogen sulfide concentration is fairly low, it condenses into the big booming clouds the gas giant is known for. Uranus has fart clouds that smell like your rudest coworkers.
But let us not forget the ammonia! You've smelled ammonia before in cleaning products, cat urine, and your own human urine if its concentrated due to dehydration or a change in your diet. In other words, Uranus would also smell like piss.
Uranus isn't the only gas giant in the solar system, of course. You might wonder: So Uranus smells like ass and piss -- wouldn't they all be filled with a ton of crappy gas? Jonathan Fortney, director of the Other Worlds Laboratory at the University of California, Santa Cruz, shut that shit down: "They’d smell similar but not as strongly," he told Gizmodo, citing the intricate balance of gases that make Uranus so unique in our cold, unforgiving universe.
It's pretty poetic, really. Uranus smells like farts and piss, just like you after you fart and piss.
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