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Flying Foods

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to eat in space?

Div Kothari

Imagine an astronaut floating inside his/her space shuttle, sucking salt and pepper in liquid form from special metal tubes! No kidding! It's true, food in space is very specialized and has to be carefully picked and packaged for space travel. The food which is prepared for space travel has a lot of do’s and don’ts because space shuttles do not have any refrigerators. Thus they have to prevent the food from getting spoiled. Phew! While we thought it is challenging to send humans in space, flying food is another chapter.

Some of the biggest problems are keeping food fresh, keeping it from flying around and keeping it edible and yummy. About a month before take-off the prepared food items are locked away in special sub-zero refrigerated lockers and placed in the shuttle only two days before orbit. The cutlery and utensils come with special magnets. Otherwise, they would float in the shuttle and damage the fancy machines. The same is the case with space food.

Space food comes in a few varieties. They are as follows:

  1. Rehydratable in which water is removed like soups.

  2. Intermediate where only a little water is removed like peaches and pears.

  3. Thermostabilized food in which viruses are killed by using heat like tuna fish.

Space food is advancing, just like space travel. Earlier, astronauts had to choke down bite-size cubes, dried powders and thick, gluey liquid stuffed into aluminium tubes. When they had a decent number of astronauts complain about the food, they enhanced it. So the food started getting better. They improved the preparation by packing it in special plastic containers. Then they worked on the food quality and variety. Today's space food includes mayo sauce, meats, granola bars, space ice creams, rice, cabbage, dried strawberries and raspberries. So now you know what a restaurant in space will serve!

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