Astronauts eat a variety of foods in space as they eat on Earth. They eat fruits, beef, chicken, seafood, nuts, biscuits, brownies, etc. They can choose what they want to eat from a variety of foods available to them.
In space, astronauts eat some foods in their original natural forms like fruits and brownies. While other foods like spaghetti, macaroni, and cheese need water to be added. Condiments like ketchup and mayonnaise are also provided to the astronauts. In the space station, an oven is provided to the astronauts, which they use for heating food. No refrigerator is provided in the space, so the food sent to the space must be properly prepared and stored to prevent any spoilage.
Do Astronauts Eat Real Food In Space?
In initial space flights, the food provided to astronauts was mainly in dehydrated form or in the form of pasts and puree, which they consumed through tubes. With the development of science and technology, new methods of food processing and packaging were introduced that improved the quality and texture of foods. So nowadays, many foods provided to astronauts resemble foods we have on Earth.
The foods sent into space are divided into the following categories:
- Fresh foods:These foods include fruits and vegetables that have a shelf life of about two days. To prevent spoilage, such foods are needed to be eaten quickly. As there are a lot of other means to get vitamins and other nutrients found in fruits and vegetables, astronauts eat such foods only for their satisfaction. Fresh fruits and vegetables are the most prized foods for astronauts.
- Irradiated foods: Foods like meat and dairy products are passed through ionizing radiation before packaging. This not only increases their shelf-life but also minimizes the risk of microbial contamination.
- Foods in natural form: Some foods like nuts, biscuits, and brownies are packed in their natural form.
- Rehydratable foods and drinks: Some foods like spaghetti, macaroni, and cheese need water to be added before consumption. The water of some foods is also removed before packaging to make their shelf life longer and to minimize the risk of spoilage. Some drinks are also sent in powder form, to which water is added before consumption.
How do astronauts eat their food in space?
Astronauts in space consume their food through a variety of methods. One way is by using pre-packaged meals that are made with special packaging to prevent the food from floating away and being contaminated by other items in the spacecraft.
Astronauts also use specially designed utensils such as sporks, which have both a spoon and fork on one end, or squeeze tubes for condiments like ketchup or mustard.
Food is sent in plastic packages and cans to space. The packages have velcro patches, which are used to attach packages to a table or tray and to avoid floating away at eating time. Magnets, tape, and tethers are also used for this purpose. A scissor is an essential tool on the meal table in space, which is used for opening packages.
Additionally, astronauts can drink liquids out of pouches that they suck on with straws while eating solid foods off trays attached to their laps. Overall, this allows astronauts to enjoy many different types of foods while living in microgravity conditions during space missions.
Why Do They Eat Freeze-Dried Food In Space?
Freeze-dried food is an ideal choice for astronauts in space due to its lightweight and long shelf life. The freeze-drying process removes moisture from the food, which eliminates the need for refrigeration or preservatives, making it easy to store and transport on a spacecraft.
Additionally, since much of the water has been removed from freeze-dried foods, they take up less volume than regular fresh foods. Lastly, rehydrating these meals with hot or cold water is quick and easy compared to other meal preparation methods available in space.
What Astronauts Can Not Eat In Space?
Astronauts can not eat bread, chips, salt, and pepper in space. These things are not allowed because the crumbs of bread and chips can float away and clog the machines and air holes. Salt and pepper are also not allowed in their original form because they can get stuck in the eyes of astronauts and contaminate machines. However, salt and pepper are provided in liquid form.
Can Astronauts Cook In Space?
Convection ovens and microwaves are provided in the space. So, yes astronauts can cook and heat their food to the desired temperature in space. In December 2019, astronauts in the International Space Station (ISS) baked the first cookies in space, which took two hours in the oven. Dough for cookies was provided by DoubleTree by Hilton.
Can Astronauts Drink Alcohol In Space?
Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin was the first and only astronaut who drank alcohol in space. Alcohol is not allowed in space because it can affect the concentration of astronauts who are needed to be alert at any time to react and control any difficult situation.