A trip to the International Space Station is like a very expensive, high-tech camping trip. When you’re more than 200 miles above Earth’s surface, you have to do without many of the luxuries of home, like pillows and personal gap. But in other respects, the daily life of an astronaut is all too familiar: They touch the gym, write emails, watch Tv, and even make time for a “family” dinner. Astronauts–they’re just like us!
For Mike Massimino, a former NASA shuttle astronaut, one of the biggest adjustments to life in space was the food. “The tragedy of spaceflight is that you can’t get pizza in space, ” Massimino says. “There was some pizza flown recently, but I don’t know what it perceived like. I’m particularly skeptical.”
Although the ISS might not be earning a Michelin star anytime soon, the fare isn’t too bad, all things considered. There’s an part laboratory at the Johnson Space Center dedicated to the culinary arts, where NASA chefs–ahem, menu technologists — expend the working day designing snacks that strike the right balance between taste and nutrition. Before an astronaut is launched into space, they inspect the nutrient laboratory to do a taste test, which aids NASA design menus for their mission.
The end result is a suite of nutrients specially accommodated for the unique challenges of the infinite context. All the banquets come prepackaged, to minimize prep time and opportunities of a run. That conveys no food, which produces a lot of runaway crumbs. Still, cosmonauts have a wide range of food to choose from. There’s coffee, brownies, pasta, and scrambled eggs, as well as favorite snacks from residence like M& Ms and Goldfish.
Massimino says he particularly liked NASA’s macaroni and cheese–so much, in fact, that he is one of the few astronauts to have gained weight in space. Just don’t get him started on the so-called “astronaut ice cream” famous in endow shops the nations of the world over, which he says is “more closely related to a house information than it is to a food.”
To learn more about why sizzling sauce is an astronaut’s best friend and how to attack your mission commander’s fridge without getting caught, check out our new video on menu in space.
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