Evoking a sense of smell

Figure 1 - Astronaut Karen Nyberg on the International savoring the gift of a grapefruit from Earth.  From NASA and in the public domain.

Figure 1 – Astronaut Karen Nyberg on the International Space Station savoring the gift of a grapefruit from Earth. From NASA and in the public domain.

It has always struck me as pretty wonderful how many of our memories instantly evoke a sense of smell.  My grandmother had this aluminum serving dish shaped like a flower.  When you pushed down on it the petals opened to reveal these wonderful after dinner mints.  To this day I cannot see a picture of my grandmother without the sense of a peppermint. And I can still smell Sunday dinners at my mother’s home.

Despite the fact that the olfactory is not our dominant sense by any means, it is striking to me how strong these image-smell associations can be.  So I offer today this absolutely wonderful picture from July 28 of NASA Astronaut Karen Nyberg aboard the International Space Station smelling a grapefruit sent up from the Blue Marble.

Back in colonial times, oranges were considered a rare delicacy, suitable for gift giving at Christmas time.  So among its many meanings the image of Figure 1 is a reminder of the precious things that we give up when we leave the bonds of Earth to meet our destiny in space.

This entry was posted in Reviews and Critiques.