You'll Never Take Pizza For Granted Again: Former Astronaut Describes Food in Space

Wednesday, 17 July 2019 - 12:09PM
Space
Science Videos
Wednesday, 17 July 2019 - 12:09PM
You'll Never Take Pizza For Granted Again: Former Astronaut Describes Food in Space
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Screenshot: Wired/YouTube
I've always been interested in extreme diets. I once dropped from 170 to 138 pounds (for reference, I'm 6'0" tall) by going vegan for a few months, then immediately turned around and got up to 215 through eating a ton of calories and bodybuilding.I've lived off diets of potatoes and quesadillas and I've been fortunate enough to have seen a few champagne and foie gras days in my time. I've tried low-carb diets, ketogenic, and, at one point, consuming calories by adding dessert to every single meal. I'm fascinated by food as fuel, by food as art, by the psychological underpinnings attached to its consumption, by the way people relate to it collectively and culturally, by its science, and by its preparation. 


That is why I found this video by Wired so fascinating. It takes a look at food that has to meet a number of conflicting requirements. Every meal's nutritive utility and sensual palatability must be balanced with the demands of an environment that is completely foreign – if not outright hostile – to every single creature on Earth: those of space. Apparently NASA hasn't come up with the idea of feeding them all Solein.


The video is hosted by former NASA astronaut and current Columbia professor Mike Massimino, who flew on the 2002 and 2009 Space Shuttle missions to repair the Hubble telescope. During the latter mission, he ordered a pizza – from space, via email – to be waiting for him when he returned to Earth. 


Although the desperate craving for pizza may have been partly prompted by the banality of food prepared by NASA's food lab, you might be surprised at the variety of snacks and foods available to those floating far above the Earth in microgravity. MRE-like meals are abundant – with clear favorites mentioned – as are tortillas, thanks to their general lack of crumbs. Salt and pepper show up as liquids to be applied to foods with special droppers and most packaged snack foods from Earth are apparently allowed by default: no approval or irradiation required.  


Pizza was attempted in 2017, though Massimino wasn't aboard that particular mission and the footage looks questionable, at best. Take a look at the video below and you'll never take pizza – or beer, for that matter – for granted again.


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