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Moonstruck ‘aroma sculptor’ builds scent from space

He may never have pulled on a spacesuit or flown in a shuttle but that has not stopped Frenchman Michael Moisseeff from reaching for the stars. 

Michael Moisseeff has created the smell of the moon based on astronauts' reports

After years of exploring and reconstructing the scents of planet Earth, the 66-year-old “aroma sculptor” set himself a new goal — capturing the smell of the moon. 

Moisseeff, with his floral shirt and a head of white hair tied up at the back, straddles the line between artist and scientist as he moves purposefully around the thousands of vials that make up his laboratory. 

It is here that the trained geneticist fulfils his life’s work of dissecting the mysteries of smell and producing all kinds of scents, fragrances and emanations from molecules. 

“To recreate the scent of undergrowth, for example, you have to go there first,” he says. 

“Is there any moss? Lichen? Moisture? I take an inventory and bring my elements together like a painter with his palette of colours. Then I work on the measures of each to try as best I can to finesse the scent.” 

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