Would you be able to survive for months on end with a predetermined menu and a carefully rationed supply of food and beverages?
In space, you can’t run out to the store if a particular food craving hits, and you have to be careful about how much you snack with a limited supply of foodstuffs. Although the menus for astronauts today are drastically improved from what early astronauts consumed while in orbit, NASA’s food scientists are continuously working to improve the taste and nutrition of meals consumed in such an extreme environment as space.
There are many challenges these scientists face, like how to package the food so that it doesn’t take up too much space or so that it isn’t too heavy, or how to extend the shelf life of food for longer duration space missions without comprising its nutritional value. There is much to consider when developing meals that astronauts will eat to sustain them on their journey to the Moon, Mars, and beyond.
Test out what you know about space food with today’s pop quiz!