In 1962, American John Glenn was on board of the spacecraft «Friendship 7″ where squeezed out of metal tubes applesauce and mashed beef with vegetables got directly into his mouth through the hole in the suit. It was all so exciting that it was firmly entrenched in the collective consciousness as an image of what the astronauts eat.
Since then, space food has changed dramatically. We have traced the evolution of the cosmic food since the beginning of the 60s until today, and know what awaits her in the future.
Food in tubes was really very popular in the United States. But not among those who were supposed to have had it. Until the mid-60s and mission “Gemini” and “Apollo” in the trend was dehydrated, sublimated food in the form of bars, which can be eaten by human beings, but by then that was a lot of floating in weightlessness crumbs damaging equipment.
Over the past decade, there were many experiments with space meal. At one time they tried to include the wine. They had to give up soda, because it behaved very strangely in weightlessness.
One of the main innovations began quilting in which food is fastened to the tray, as in space, it can easily fly, before you start to eat it. The tray, in turn, is attached to the table.
Today’s menu of astronauts is a menu of variety of restaurants. According to NASA, the astronauts can choose from more than 200 kinds of food and beverages. Approximately 8-9 months before the flight takes a special session to assess the food, where the astronauts are trying to choose their meals – breakfasts, lunches, dinners and suppers. The food contains all the nutrients you need, because the astronauts need to consume per day the same number of calories as on Earth.
Menu on the MKS is repeated every 8 days. The astronauts can request a variety of things that remind them of home. They also have “a set of psychological support” from friends and family. But a simple range of food is not enough, so you do not lose your appetite. The problem of space food is that is more soft and with a strange aftertaste.
In recent years, especially after the numerous cooking shows have become mainstream, NASA began to cooperate with the best chef. So there was, for example, space kimchi (Korean cuisine from sharply flavored pickled vegetables).
Half-century ago, space mission lasted only a couple of weeks, but today there is a question of food systems for missions that last for years. NASA is already thinking about the special “hydroponic laboratories” where the astronauts will be able to grow vegetables, potatoes, beans, wheat and rice.
To enable astronauts to cook themselves is a very important thing for future space missions. Almost all the time the astronauts are in communication with mission control on Earth, and their whole day is painted on the 5-minute intervals. But in the long expeditions this will not happen because of the delay signal. Moreover, if you want people to not have gone mad during, say, a three-year mission to Mars, it is impossible to monitor every minute of their lives.
If someone thinks that space food is becoming more and more high-tech, they are mistaken. On the contrary, food becomes more and more similar to the one we used to have in the world. And all that people need in space – is a normal meal.