No restaurants in space...
So, what do Astronauts eat?
As NASA prepared to send men into space for the first time, they had more on their minds than just rocket science. What do astronauts eat? Can they digest food normally in space? How should the food be stored?
Having no previous space flight experience, scientists had to be very cautious about what astronauts were given to eat. Early diets consisted of simple pastes and liquids, which were squeezed from toothpaste-like tubes. These meals were lacking in both nutrition and taste.
A Larger Menu
Over the years, many advancements have been made in food preparation and packaging technology. Astronauts can now choose almost anything they want to eat. Including meals prepared by many world famous chefs!
Most space food is dehydrated and sealed in special packaging. These dehydrated foods, such as meat and eggs, are re-hydrated with a "water pistol," which softens the food into a more edible state.
With extra storage provided by space cargo ships, astronauts now have a wider selection of food to choose from. Fresh fruit and vegetables are also available and provide great nutrition.
Doesn't the Food Float?
You're probably wondering how astronauts eat their food without it floating away in the low gravity of space. In addition to simply squeezing the food right out of its package, special meal trays have be designed to prevent food from escaping.
Each meal tray holds several food containers. Container lids, combined with the extra mass that is added to food by re-hydration, prevent meals from floating away.
Growing Food in Space
In the future, when manned space missions last more than a few weeks, astronauts will need to grow their own food. The recent discovery of water on our Moon's surface may allow astronauts to grow crops inside a Moon base and provide additional storage for meals. By then, nobody will need to ask "what do astronauts eat?"
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