The Challenges and Techniques of Space Food
Can you imagine what it would be like to eat a gazpacho in space without gravity? Exact! It cannot. Well, you can, but it would be like playing "Pang!" Go exploding gazpacho balls until you could absorb one. Funny, but not very effective. Especially if you have to work and do experiments.
To cook food at space is entirely difficult as there is no gravity. The food that astronauts eat is very particular and that is what I am going to tell you today.
The launch of space food In 1961 Yuri Gagarin walked around the space, and for a snack he took with him after delicious bars, like toothpaste, mashed meat and a chocolate sauce. Delicious.
Then, in the middle of a space race, John Glenn did an important experiment. Determine if it could be swallowed without gravity. It is not obvious and it was confirmed that the swallowing process does not depend on the severity, but on the muscles of the esophagus. Good news.
Then came several years of improvements and the occasional problem. For example, the one who starred in two astronauts who decided to take a sandwich and put the whole ship loss of breadcrumbs? As you can imagine, if one of them had sneaked into the ground reentry control device and caused a short circuit. Yes, the thing ended up in a commission of inquiry of the US Congress, for a sandwich!
Space Logistics Magnets and Velcros Obviously, anything without gravity gets a bit complicated and feed too. Digestions are more complicated because food tends to "float" in the stomach, producing reflux and acidity. It is also not a good idea to drink tails or beers because the digestion of gas bubbles is not very placid.
Although it may seem a lie, astronauts also sit at the table and use knives and forks. Of course, to avoid problems, they are fixed with velcro and magnets to the trays or tables. Drinks are taken with special bottles and usually come prepared. In general, food should prevent it from falling apart easily to avoid incidents such as sandwich.
The preparation and packaging of food are very particular. They are usually very nutritious, easy to prepare and palatable meals. What matters is that astronauts eat well, and do not spend too much time preparing food or cleaning. As a curious note, each international space custom assignment help UK agency gives it its particular touch. So China or Japan prepare packages with typical food such as pork or sushi.
Investigation and development Like so many other things, much of the space race R&D has moved into our lives and on the issue of food as well. In fact, NASA has a laboratory called Space Food Systems Laboratory (SFSL) dedicated to it. Right now, one of its main lines of research is developing food with a greater conservation capacity so that they can be used in manned missions to Mars.
Perhaps the most common process is that of lyophilization, which by means of freezing and vacuum packaging processes extracts water and lengthens the duration of food. Freeze-dried products are subsequently rehydrated before consumption. Another method used with meat is irradiation to kill bacteria and pathogens, something only allowed for space food. Finally, the thermostabilization technique is also used, consisting of using a special packaging for food and subjecting it to processes similar to those of pasteurization they make it last much longer.
50 years of space food On February 20, 1962 John Glenn became not only the first American in orbital flight, but also the first to eat food. Since then, more than 50 years of space food have passed, which has evolved from the cream of apple in tube that it ingested to the ribs coated with ginger, mashed peas and mushrooms in vinegar that tasted in the last Discovery to the space station.
Taking advantage of the golden wedding of such a significant event, and a few months late, NASA has shared with the world images of many of the foods that made up the astronaut menu - although it has no intention of auctioning them, so that we can get an idea of what it is like to eat in space.
The beginnings Taking a tour of past years, with research advances the food that astronauts had 50 years back is different from the food they are having now when travel in space.
Looking at the photos and doing some research, the food of the airplanes begins to seem attractive and delicious, especially if you look at the first manned trips, such as those of the Mercury program, where the food came in pasta tubes, as if they were detrimental, or in dehydrated tablets of high caloric value, which should be like putting a concentrated broth pill in your mouth. Uhm, Delicious!
A little better ate the first Russian cosmonaut to eat food in the spaces, German Titov, who flew on August 6, 1961 aboard the Vostok 2 - before the American, everything is said - and got into the chest of back a cream of vegetables, a can of liver paste and redcurrant juice.
Fortunately for astronauts, things got better over the years. Drinks such as must or orange juice were already included in the Gemini program, while some foods could be rehydrated before being ingested, which gave them a more attractive appearance.
Beef stew and a toast with vodka During the missions of the American Apollo and the Russian Soyuz the menu was expanded, so that the astronauts who went to the moon could enjoy coffee, bacon in squares, cereals, sandwiches, salads and even stew of meat and spaghetti. Many foods were rehydrated with hot water to improve their flavor and they could even use a kind of spoon for the first time in space despite the absence of gravity.
As a story anecdote, there will be the tubes that the Russians ingested during the joint Apollo-Soyuz mission. To the surprise of the Americans on the signs, Vodka could be read in very large Cyrillic letters, although inside they contained borsch, a typical Ukrainian soup, as it was nothing more than a joke of the Russians, the very jokes.
The Skylab, about to take a Michelin star Probably, of all the space missions, the people who ate the best were the inhabitants of the SkyLab, the first American space station. They had a small kitchen with an electric oven to heat the food, a wide variety of canned foods, a complete cutlery and even refrigerators and freezers in which to keep ice cream, drinks and even lobster or steaks. Come on, that little else and give it a Michelin star.
Of the Skylab are also the trays in which they had to inspire those of my school to design those of my school canteen. They included gaps for different dishes, condiments and drinks, and even the possibility of heating some of them.
In the future missions of the International Space Station and space shuttles these luxuries were removed, focusing on successfully rehydrating all kinds of hot water meals, in order to increase the variety of different menus. They also sought to improve conservation techniques in order to increase the duration of some foods and present them in their natural form to make them more attractive.
50 years later it starts to look like real food In the last missions we can see dried fruits, cookies and candies vacuum packed, looking very similar to what we could enjoy on earth. They even have sachets with mayonnaise and mustard as if they had gone to eat at the corner hamburger.
However, despite all the advances of 50 years of space food, it still does not seem too attractive to get into the body what comes out of a bag that looks more like a dripper - although now there are juices that are presented in a similar way and the fact that most astronauts lost weight and survived on the basis of energy bars confirms this.