It’s not uncommon for people to wonder what astronauts are eating when they’re on a mission. Space meals are a balanced mixture of nutrition and taste. It’s imperative that astronauts receive the right kind of nutrients in zero gravity, to ensure their health and strength throughout their journey. However, appealing to their mental state is also important, which is why having some of the ‘comfort’ foods of home can really make a huge difference.
There are three components that make up the daily meals of astronauts: Shelf-stable foods (ambient), frozen foods, and refrigerated foods. The dishes consist of things that would be comparable to the food eaten on earth. In fact, astronauts actually get to pick out their menus almost four months before they launch on their mission. Their selections are then reviewed by a nutritionist, to ensure they’ll be adequately nourished throughout their journey.
As you might expect, packaging is incredibly important when it comes to holding and serving meals. There are five different package sizes specifically designed by NASA to hold food that goes into space. They are adjusted based on the type of entree they hold, including salads, main dishes, desserts, etc. In addition, there are typically several ‘bulk’ packages that go onto the space shuttle as well. These usually contain fresh fruits, bread, etc.
To prepare their meals, astronauts have a variety of different resources. Space shuttles now have ovens, so in many cases, preparing a dish is a matter of adding water and heating. Some food is freeze dried, which requires the addition of hot water. Other than that, some foods don’t require any ‘altering’ at all. An astronaut eats a brownie the same way in space as we do here on earth! Making meals enjoyable and memorable in space is extremely important, not just for nutrition, but for the overall well being of the astronauts on their mission.
Comments will be approved before showing up.