Space food is a fascinating topic of interest for many people. We wonder how different it is from our everyday, normal cuisine and how it’s stored and kept fresh. Who invented space food and where can we try it? It’s exciting to know that we have the capability to travel in space and sustain our lives in a space shuttle long enough for a return trip home. It took many years to craft the means of travel and build the shuttle that gave man the ability to land on the moon, not to mention the details going into the mission, such as the new way of life in terms of eating, drinking, and stability.
Maurice Krug was the inventor of space food. The first space food eaten was applesauce, squeezed out of a tube, such as what you use for toothpaste. It was soft and mushy, described as the consistency of baby food. Along with “tubed” meals, there were also bite-sized dehydrated cubes that were eaten and rehydrated by the moistening of the astronaut’s saliva. The food was kept fresh by the way it was packaged in the tubes and from the dehydration process done on the food that was made into the cubes. Most astronauts were not exactly pleased with the taste of both sources of food and said they were quite unappetizing. They were chosen because of the convenience of easy storage and usage.
As the need for staying in space longer became an issue, it was important for them to find new and better ways of eating food in space. Therefore, the style, variety, and consistency of astronaut’s meals had to be transformed. By 1965 the food had been made more palatable when the meals were freeze-dried. To freeze-dry a meal means to cook it, quickly freeze it, and then use a vacuum to suck out the water in it. To freeze-dry food meant that it could be easily preserved and kept fresh without taking away the flavor. When the astronaut’s were ready to eat the meals they simply rewet the food with a water gun.
By the 1980s, astronauts could pick their own meal plans by choosing from about 74 different meals and 20 drinks. The food now eaten is space is virtually the same as what we eat on earth. A sample list of the food that can be eaten in space includes brownies, ice-cream, fruits, nuts, peanut butter, cornflakes, tuna salad, seafood, chicken, beef, and candy. They also have drink choices such as coffee, orange juice, tea, and lemonade. Meals like these are usually chosen because of the nutrition and calories they provide because through working and bouncing around the space shuttle the astronauts are expending a lot of energy and need to restore their bodies with the proper nutrients. All of these meals are kept fresh through airtight packaging and freeze-drying.
Perhaps you don’t have any real desire to purchase a ticket to the moon and experience all of the things astronauts do, but you have wondered what the food tastes like. Could you sample space food? The answer is yes! You can purchase space food from places like the Kennedy Space Center, as well as websites such as thespacestore.com, basspro.com, and thespaceshop.com.