Evolution in Space Food

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Travellers and explorers throughout the history have to develop the methods for preserving food and carrying enough food for their journey. This problem was really difficult when the people made long sea voyage and space shuttles. Great explorers like Cook and Columbus carried dried food and preserved in brine and salt. However, the space travellers required the new methods to keep their food edibles. Space food is a variety of food products especially created and processed for the consumption of astronauts in outer space. This food has special requirements of providing balanced nutrition for individuals working in space, easy to store, consume in the machinery filled with low gravity environment of space-shuttle. For a healthy astronaut, about 2500 or more calories require per day.

By the 1960s, NASA (National Aeronautic and Space Administration) had achieved an extraordinary technological feat by sending man into space. Yet one simple facet of space travel took several more years to perfect: the food.

In early history, the different missions were sent to the space for different purposes. In early 1960s, Russians mission “Vostok”, the scientists used daily 160 g toothpaste-type tube which contained two serving of pureed meat and one of chocolate sauce. The “project Mercury” (1959-1963) launched by United States, astronauts ate bite-sized cube, freeze dried-powder and tubes of semi-liquids. The astronauts found it unappetizing, experienced difficulties in rehydrating the freeze-dried foods and did not like having to squeeze tubes. During “project Gemini” (1965-1966), the astronauts used tubes having gelatin coating, which prevents the food from crumbling. The simpler rehydration methods were developed to preserve the vegetables, toast squares, chicken, butterscotch and apple juice. The mission commander Gus Grissom enjoyed this type of food serving.In “Apollo program”, hot water was used to rehydrate the freeze-dried food. The frozen foods were mainly popular and savored because of head mobbing from weightlessness dampening their senses of smell and taste.

In modern life, vegetables and fruits that can be safely stored at room temperature are eaten on space flights.Astronauts have great variety of main courses to choose from, and requested personalized menus list of fruit salad and spaghetti.Now days, astronauts request for food which is high in nutrition and light weight which can be consumed in orbit without packaging or other changing. In 2003, Chinese astronaut brought along with him processed rice, chicken and Chinese herbal tea .in 2008, Koreans astronaut, carried Koreans national food “Kimchi” with fermented cabbage that is suitable for space travel. Recently in 2014, Russian astronauts took rice, broccoli, meat, black currant juice and cheese.

In conclusion, there is need to develop food which is delicious in taste and high in nutrition. The food in compressed or liquid form useful for space mission because of light weight easily digestible and can be consumed in less quantity.


Published in: Volume 05 Issue 46

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