George Aldrich: March 28, 2017


TBD from TBD Wins the 2017 National Odor-Eaters®
Rotten Sneaker Contest


And the winner is:

Connor Slocombe, age 12 from Eagle River, Alaska

                Connor loves riding his bike and uses his feet as brakes.  He likes helping his Aunt on her farm with the chickens, but unfortunately steps into a lot of animal poop. He also loves to fish and go camping a lot.


George Aldrich

Chemical Specialist for NASA space missions and “Master Sniffer”

contest winner

Scientists thought that the human nose could only detect about 10,000 different smells, but recently that number increased dramatically to approximately one trillion distinct scents. Some of the most pleasant scents include vanilla, cinnamon, crayons, and cookies. But what about those unpleasant smells? Participants at the National Odor-Eaters Rotten Sneaker Contest are raising a stink by showing off their foul-smelling sneakers at this annual event.

Kids are known for getting into some stinky messes, and children from across the country competed at this year’s contest hosted at Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Times Square for a chance to win the national title and $2,500. But only one pair of sneakers could be crowned the winner and they belonged to xx year old, winner’s name, from xx.

In this interview, you’ll speak with Master Sniffer, George Aldrich who will talk more about the contest and how he uses his acute scent of smell to determine a winner. He’ll be joined by the winner, XXX who will let listeners know just how they got their sneakers so dirty!



Officially known as a Chemical Specialist at the Molecular Desorption Analysis Laboratory at White Sands, NM, George Aldrich is better known by his NASA nickname “Master Sniffer”.  He began his career in 1974 as a fireman working for NASA.  A few years later, he realized that he had interest, as well as the “nose”, to perform work in the laboratory, which eventually earned him his nickname “Master Sniffer.”  Today, he’s NASA’s “nasalnaut”, the man colleagues call the Most Smella Fella.

For the past Forty years Aldrich’s work has consisted of performing odor-panel tests (better known as smell missions) for astronauts at NASA, to prevent toxic odors from entering the confined crew environment.  In other words, he is responsible for ensuring that the astronauts do not become ill up in space due to odors given off by the many difference materials and plastics onboard.

“It’s like being a court wine taster for medieval kings, you know?” he says. “The guy who used to make sure the stuff was good to drink. We kind of do the same with the astronauts. It’s our way of protecting them.”  This, from a man whose business card features the image of a skunk next to a space shuttle and the quote “if anything smells in the Space Program, I’ll be there to get wind of it”.

To keep his nose in check, Aldrich receives nose calibration tests every four months.  This consists of sniffing 10 bottles, three of which have no odor.  Aldrich then determines the particular odor and is rated on accuracy.  Thus far, he’s had a perfect record, with the exception of an occasional incident when he couldn’t participate due to a cold or a sore throat.

The award Aldrich is most proud of is one he recently received for performing the most smell missions.  He currently holds the record of 880 “sniffs” and is still going strong.  George was honored by the astronauts and received the “Silver Snoopy Award”.  To date, no other sniffer has even broken the 700 mark, which is why George is known as the “Master Sniffer.”  Recently George appeared on Stan Lee’s Superhuman Show as the “Supper Sniffer”.

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