Eating Food In Space
Like many in my youth and even now I was always drawn to science fiction. Particularly Star Trek. I always enjoyed the adventures and the inventions and one that always stuck out for me was the replicator. Capable of combining atoms and molecules in such a way as to create in animate objects or food. This type of food creation would of course be ideal for a star ship that would be in deep space for months or even years. But unlike Star Trek the food consumed by astronauts of today is very different and unfortunately we haven't created a replicator and it must be stored in the ship.
Much of the food eaten by astronauts is dried out, freeze dried, or otherwise reduced in size and compacted. This is specifically for storage purposes, safety concerns and to a certain extent dietary concerns.
Storage is of course self explanatory, with a crew of multiple people eating three (and in some cases four) times a day for an extended period of time there would need to be a lot of food. So any way of reducing size means that you carry less weight, you can stay in space longer, etc.
In terms of safety concerns one must consider that while in space you would be in a zero gravity or micro-gravity situation. You can't make yourself sloppy joes and then pour yourself a nice glass of wine. You would most likely be sending sauce, hamburger chunks and wine in all directions. In a shuttle full of sensitive computer hardware this could be disastrous. You don't want your tombstone to read, "died after plummeting to earth after the shuttle experienced short circuiting due to barbecue sauce!"
Lastly the food is also made with specific portions and balanced nutrients to provide the astronauts with the proper diet that is needed. Check out some of the types of food available below:
TYPES OF FOOD EATEN IN SPACE
CANNED BEEF TONGUE: For anyone who loves cow tongue this freeze dried version can be eaten when aboard the shuttle.
BORSCHT (AND OTHER SOUPS): Soup can't be eaten as normal liquid in a bowl. Instead in comes in tubes much like tooth paste and has the about the same consistency as the soup is also in paste form.
RIGA BREAD: In airtight sealed plastic this dried out bread causes almost no crumbs.
PUREED MEAT, CHOCOLATE SAUCE, CAVIAR: Again comes in toothpaste-like tubes as a paste.
DEHYDRATED JUICES AND OTHER DRINKS: Much of the beverages would be powder form and water added when they were ready to have a drink.
NUTS, CERTAIN TYPES OF CRACKERS, OTHER: Foods that are solid or that have been modified to not crumble or become a huge mess could be eaten as is. They would still be vacuum packed and great care would be taken when eating. Many of these foods eaten as is are more recent additions.
FUNNY TO NOTE:
In 1965 John young a pilot for the Gemini mission smuggled a corn beef sandwich on board the shuttle. NASA annoyed convened a congressional hearing over the sandwich and after deliberations decided not to court martial the pilot. But gave the crew a stern warning that nothing like that should ever happen again. Afterward the mission commander Grissom whom Young had given the sandwich too commented that it was a definite no no, but that he really enjoyed the sandwich.
In the 1980s Coca-cola was authorized to be taken into space for consumption. Unfortunately due to having no gravity it was found that when carbonated beverages were consumed the burps that accompanied became vomits in space.
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