From space to the supermarket: foods prepared for astronauts that later became popular

The space travels they stimulated human creativity even in terms of gastronomic innovation. The cosmonauts trained to remain a minimum of six months in the International Space Station (ISS) need to eat at least 2,800 calories in one day, according to scientists from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). And, as is known, the conditions of life with zero gravity they are very particular. The feeding it becomes a problem.

The first challenge was to give varied flavor and texture to the space food, because in the 1960s there were only small tubes with purees of different foods, such as meat or potatoes. They were so unpleasant to taste that, upon returning from the missions, the astronauts they returned many of the provisions with which they had left Earth.

Valentina Vladimirovna, the first Russian woman to travel into space and pilot Vostok 6 in 1963, ate tubes of foul-tasting, unpleasant-textured porridge. (Everett/Shutterstock). (Everett/Shutterstock/)

The solution came with dehydrated Foods through freezing. The method helped to better preserve the flavors and keep the nutrients inside the packages. The new generation of space food it also conquered the market in later years.

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Dehydrated stews, the contributions of space food

Both the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of the United States and the space program of the former Soviet Union, now Russia, made modifications to the food for the ones astronauts they could ingest what was necessary and endure the mission. Many of those creations are in supermarkets today.

Between space food that became popular among the public, dried tomatoes stand out, once typical of Mediterranean cuisine and today an ingredient gourmet of any good salad, and dried fruits such as apples, pears or bananas that were also the heritage of some regional cuisines and today are offered globally as healthy snacks to replace those made with processed flour and sugar. Canned chicken stews and dehydrated meat that today are sold at gas stations and supermarkets were also part of the space menu.

On Apollo 11, the astronauts enjoyed this varied menu of foods, but in the early 1960s, space food was limited and bland at best.  (POT)
On Apollo 11, the astronauts enjoyed this varied menu of foods, but in the early 1960s, space food was limited and bland at best. (POT)

From Tang artificial orange juice to today’s wide variety of powdered rehydration drinks is a beeline, just as it is from the fruit cubes of the cosmonauts to the fruity food bars that today pack an apple and 20 blueberries into 35 grams (1.2 ounces). Others space foods that gained popularity were the rehydratable shrimp cocktail and the Pillsbury bars (Space Food Stick)rich in sweet-tasting proteins, forerunners of the wave of energy bars.

At the end of Gemini programin 1966, the United States strove in the food design in response to weight loss astronauts during trips. They ate practically by force of will, because the previous provisions (usually tasteless cubes, with an unpleasant texture to the palate) were seen almost as a medicine against malnutrition, not as food.

Advertising for Pillsbury's bars, a mass-market successful food for astronauts
Advertising for Pillsbury’s bars, a mass-market successful food for astronauts.

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With the release of apollo 11in 1969, the cosmonauts they began to taste foods more faithful to those of the Earth. Due to vacuum packaging that preserve food better, the flavor of chicken, meat and vegetables was preserved intact, as were the values nutritional. This step was instrumental in packaging tuna, egg, sandwiches, bacon and spaghetti salads.

The improvements in the dehydrated Foods they reincorporated them into the space menu, something that scientists have always sought for a simple reason: by removing water from food, the growth of microorganisms that could contaminate it is stopped. The general food industry also incorporated the improvements, and from there have emerged instant soup and puree, dried mushrooms for exquisite sauces or jarred herbs common in kitchens.

Hot water is the key to space feeding

Vacuum packed food that astronauts eat, with the usual utensils: fork, knife and scissors to open the packages.
The only strange utensil on the space table is the scissors, to open the packages. (POT)

Although the variety of the menu changed over the years, the method of preparing dishes remained: from the gemini projectthe POT I was looking for an effective way to rehydrate the food and hot water appeared as the best candidate for a process that had to be carried out in space. In the Apollo program, the agency discovered that hot water also made it possible to increase the repertoire of space food: The result of this finding allowed the Apollo 8 astronauts to dine on turkey and gravy on Christmas 1968.

The new combinations increased to create a space menu of 72 foods in the first US station, Skylabwhich orbited the Earth from 1973 to 1979. At the facility, astronauts they already had a hot water dispenser, kitchen and microwave oven.

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Astronaut Sunita Williams exhibits the variety of food available to astronauts.  (POT)
Astronaut Sunita Williams exhibits the variety of food available to astronauts. (POT)

At present, the food they continue with the dehydration process and need hot water to consume themselves in space. In this way, NASA managed to ensure that the food had a useful life of about one year, since the minimum stay on the International Space Station, launched in 1998, is six months.

Cosmonauts use a container of water to rehydrate food. They plug this tool into the packages of food which were freeze-dried. Once they finish the infusion, they can start eating their food without the risk of losing the nutrients they need in their three meals a day.

Five members of Expedition 60 to the International Space Station, at the moment of eating: Luca Parmitano, Andrew Morgan, Nick Hague, Alexander Skvortsov and Aleksey Ovchinin
Lunchtime on ISS Expedition 60, 2019: Luca Parmitano (European Space Agency, top) Andrew Morgan (left) and Nick Hague (NASA) and Alexander Skvortsov and Aleksey Ovchinin (Roscosmos). (ISS)

KEEP READING:

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An award-winning woman and a record-breaking man: some of the secrets of the next astronauts to go to the Moon

“There is no place”: why the International Space Station was filled with astronauts

Source-www.infobae.com