Think about the food you might eat going camping for more than a week with several of your close friends, you would have to choose non-perishable food and easily transportable cutlery to allow for easy disposal or the cleansing and reusing of them.
These things need to be considered when packing for any space travel, today we will go over some interesting facts and information linked to the nutritional needs of astronauts and how they deal with the difficulties of life at Zero-G around mealtimes.
Nutrition for a healthy mind
While looking into nutrition NASA has found that there is more to the issue than the food itself, when looking into the well-being of astronauts aboard the international space station they saw mental well-being increased when the astronauts were able to eat familiar food, alongside this how can the 300th pouch of sweet and sour pork seem appealing?
Nasa scientists delve into phycology alongside biochemistry, including how scent and taste change while living in space for periods of time, one study included providing comfort food and treats with astronauts filling out a mood questionnaire after meals.
Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
A standard meal for an astronaut can change day to day, variety is key when the only constant of your existence is the looming darkness of space, they can choose from many different meals during their stays such as macaroni and cheese or spaghetti and meatballs, Nasa’s menu includes 100+ items now! every two months an automated spacecraft docks the international space station with anything from fresh fruit, water, and pre-packaged meals which astronauts scan a barcode on the package before eating and send the data back to earth automatically through an iPad, This allows Nasa’s team of scientists to monitor their caloric intake as each astronaut is unique in their needs. And this varies between upwards of 3000 or as low as 2000 for a petite female astronaut.
Eating space food
The average meal eaten by the crew will be rehydrated before consumption to prevent any bacterial growth, food including low moisture can be instead heat treated to keep their shelf life. Facilities to warm items are readily available upon the international space station and a crew of astronauts will typically eat together as we would on earth, they can talk and discuss their day as anyone would, this is essential to keeping their mental well-being in check although we wouldn’t be used to sitting while strapped down to prevent yourself floating away! A pulldown dinner table is magnetic to keep everything in place.
Nasa has considered the waste their astronaut’s food causes, this has forwarded innovations in packaging which we see today on earth, used packaging is put into a capsule and dropped back into the atmosphere where it immediately burns up upon re-entry, The toilets upon the international space station rely on flushing with air rather than water where it is immediately sealed in airtight tanks and is sent back to earth through the garbage capsule and also burns upon re-entry.