Solving Space: Tortillas

This summer, we are exploring how we push human extremes in order to survive and thrive in the harsh environments of space. Perhaps one of the more extreme aspects of space travel is the menu.

NASA goes to extreme lengths to produce safe, nutritious, and tasty cosmic cuisine for its space explorers.

Eating in space creates a unique challenge. In zero gravity, things like crumbs don’t just fall to the floor. Instead, the crumbs can float around the station or spacecraft and disrupt the proper functioning of equipment, which could put the crew at risk. One of the ways NASA mitigates this risk is by sending up foodstuffs like tortillas instead of sliced bread.

The tortillas make a great choice for astronauts for a variety of reasons. First, they do not produce many crumbs. Second, they are easy to store and take up little room with their shape. Third, they stay fresh much longer than sliced bread. Lastly, they are nutritious.

However, the tortillas you see astronauts consuming in space aren’t your typical tortillas. In fact, they are mold resistant and stay good on the shelf for roughly 18 months!

Since the International Space Station does not refrigerate food, and resupply missions are few and far between, it is important that space food has a long shelf life.

Watch as Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield prepare a peanut butter and honey sandwich using a tortilla in the Space.com clip below:

Want to read more about space food? Click here.

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