We can’t get groceries in moon quite yet, but we can learn a little about astronaut food throughout history.
The food were packaged in Toothpaste tubes for the first space travel. Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin made the space flight in 1961, While in space, he ate lunch consisting of pureed meat and chocolate sauce, luckily in separate tubes.
Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma is the only Indian citizen to travel to Space. With the help of Defense Food Research Lab, situated in Mysore, they had packed Suji Halwa, Aloo Chole and Veg Pulao. Interestingly he was the first who practiced zero gravity Yoga in order to deal with space sickness.
Aboard Space Missions, salt & pepper are provided in liquid form, as they cannot be sprinkled in microgravity situations. The grains would float around, get into machinery and cause malfunctions. Other condiments, like mustard, mayonnaise and ketchup are also provided.
Iron and Sodium in diet must be carefully regulated. Iron collects in red blood cells and in space, astronauts have fewer blood cells. If too much iron collects in blood, it can cause problems. Bone density is affected by Sodium and Vitamin D. Too much Sodium can decrease done density, and not enough Vitamin D can do the same. Our bodies naturally produce Vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, but astronauts are not exposed to sunlight during their missions.
Kimchi, the Korean staple cost the government millions of dollars to modify for space travel. Kimchi, spicy fermented cabbage was difficult to engineer because it has to be bacteria free. Scientists discovered that they could radiate the Kimchi and also reduce the smell to make it more palatable for non-Koreans aboard the International Space Station.
Tea has been available for astronauts ever since the technology to heat water was developed for the Apollo program. Incidentally Yi So Yeon, the first South Korean astronaut, travelled to International Space Station on April 8th, 2008, becoming the third country after Great Britain and Iran to have a woman as the first astronaut.
Tang was popularised by astronaut John Glenn who was doing eating and drinking test during his Mercury Atlas 6 mission in 1962. Glenn was the third American in Space and the first American to Orbit the Earth, circling it three times. Tang contains number of necessary vitamins, but Buzz Aldrin admitted that ‘Tang Sucks’
Coca Cola & Pepsi were provided to the crew of Skylab- the first United States space station, launched by NASA. However carbonated beverages are difficult to drink in space, as microgravity prevents the liquid and gas from separating in the stomach as it normally would and causes ‘wet burping’ which includes vomiting.
Other space foods include Shrimp cocktails, Tomato & Basil seeds, Spicy Green beans, Freeze dried ice creams, candy coated chocolates etc.
Interesting anecdotes- Barely grown in Space, bought back to Earth to make beer. The Apollo- Soyuz Project astronauts were photographed eating tubes of borscht which were jokingly labelled ‘vodka’. Paul Masson, successful populaizer of Sparkling Wine, bought a bottle of cream sherry on Skylab mission, but the smell was overpowering and triggered gas reflexes. Astronaut John Young sneaked a corned beef sandwich into the Gemini III mission for his friend, Gus Grissom
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