3, 2, 1 we have lift off Houston, always a childhood memory watching rockets go into space & everyone remembers the excitement of this happening over the years of growing up. I always wondered what on earth (Excuse the Pun) they ate for if there is no gravity how do astronauts digest food & are they on a special diet, & where & how is food stored.
Humans have, ever since, been exploring space through a variety of missions including the International Space Station, which has housed individual Astronauts and Cosmonauts for periods of up to a year. Nevertheless, life in space would not be possible with the often specialized foods that consumed in orbit and beyond. In a microgravity environment, however, certain foods are impractical.
Astronauts eat very similar to people who go camping for a week or more. You make sure that you have plenty of food & gear to cook & eat with. Some foods can be eaten in its natural form such as fruit while other food you need to add water such as pastas, & convenience packet food. Ovens are provided to heat food to the correct temperature so hygiene (HACCP) is not ignored. According to NASA, there are no fridges in space so food needs to be prepared & stored properly.
Condiments, such as ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise, are provided. Salt and pepper are available but only in a liquid form. This is because astronauts can’t sprinkle salt and pepper on their food in space. The salt and pepper would simply float away. There is a danger they could clog air vents, contaminate equipment or get stuck in an astronaut’s eyes, mouth or nose.
Astronauts eat three meals a day: breakfast, lunch and dinner just like earth but have nutritionists that ensure them with a balanced diet. Just like on earth space food is stored in disposable packaging which must be thrown away after use. The food Packaging is designed to be flexible & easy to use & some are designed so it won’t fly away.
This was a technique that was developed. Food was cooked, quickly frozen and then dehydrated (had the water taken out) in a special vacuum chamber. Freeze-dried food didn’t need to be refrigerated and would last a long time.
To make most freeze-dried foods, astronauts squeeze water into the food packages and then eat the food after it absorbs the water. Astronauts can use hot water to make hot meals that are tasty and nutritious.
Space Grocery List
/ Beef Jerky / Peanuts M&M / Kellogg’s Rice / Instant Coffee / Granola
/ Oranges / Canned Tuna / Chocolate Pudding / Powdered lemonade
How do we eat in Space?
So we know what space people eat now but how do they eat with everything floating around thanks to know gravity. Fifty years ago all space traveller’s used straws to suck their dehydrated food. Today its really the same way as we eat food on earth.
Astronauts attach their individual food containers to a food tray with fabric fasteners. The tray itself connects either to the wall or to the astronauts’ laps. Astronauts open the food packages with scissors and eat with a knife, fork and spoon.
Taste & Smell
In space appetites are affected. Without gravity, food aromas and smells are non-existing for the nose. When you can’t smell food very well, you can’t really taste it, either. And because fluids tend to rise to the top half of astronauts’ bodies, the crew members usually have perpetually stuffy noses. Salt, pepper, ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise are available to enhance the flavour of the food, but even then, the condiments are different from their terrestrial counterparts — salt and pepper have to be suspended in liquid so the particles don’t float away.
To be honest it doesn’t seem very appetizing so I feel the earth is a safer place for me & will continue to use local food around West Cork and Ireland.
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