The Evolution of Food in Space

By Tina Amini (SAIT journalism student and intern for Beakerhead 2016)

I recall being a student in middle school when real live astronauts came to talk to my class about life in space. I was so excited to learn about their lives in space.

Even better, they let us have a taste of living in space, literally! I remember (perhaps not too fondly) the peanut butter and jelly, which I first thought was toothpaste. In fact, everything came in the same packaging as toothpaste, there were different sizes and shapes, but all in airtight packaging that you could squeeze food out of.

From that moment on, I knew that living in space was not my future calling. I love food way too much!

Recent studies taken by NASA show that astronauts who spend long periods of time in space have their sensory reactions diminish. Even worse, the lack of gravity an astronaut experiences is also felt by the “food” that is trying to stay down to be digested … it doesn’t always stay down (warning: don’t stand next to your fellow astronaut after eating!).

Imagine spending months in space and having to eat mushy foods from a squeezable package that you can barely taste due to your diminished senses or because you’ll taste it again when it comes back up! Nope, again not for me!

But thankfully, since my middle school days, food in space has definitely evolved, hopefully for the better.

Check out this infograph by Ana Brady from that shows the evolution of space food, which purports that today space food tastes something like what we eat on earth. If only, this was presented to me in middle school, then I may have indeed had a space calling!
Infographic - Evolution of Food in Space: From Bland Puree to Almost Like on Earth

How would an astronaut fair in the #OtherHandChallenge?

The astronaut, donned by Rocket House, attempted to hammer nails in the #OtherHandChallenge.

Let’s just say that he won’t be invited to the Space Station to do repairs!

Donations to Beakerhead for the creation of life-long learning programs at the crossroads of art and science, are always welcome and appreciated – click here to donate.

Rock n’ Roll History of Space Exploration – Adventure Edition

What’s the soundtrack for human space exploration? Join Jay Ingram and his band the Cosmonauts on a visual and musical journey through an era when the idea of humans in space was only a dream. But those dreams created the space age. Part science, part rock ’n’ roll — join Jay, space explorers. Theremin pop artist Clara Venice, and musicians for the ride! Your host for the evening: a Canadian astronaut. Proudly sponsored by DIRTT.


Thursday is opening night of the international premiere of the Rock ’n’ Roll History of Space Exploration. In true opening-night style, all ticket holders will have a deluxe experience:

  • Doors open at 6 pm for a pre-show VIP reception with astronaut David Saint-Jacques, light snack and drink.
  • A chance to win a trip for two, travelling with Jay Ingram aboard
  • Adventure Canada’s Mighty St. Lawrence expedition cruise from Quebec City to Saint Pierre, with stops in Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. This travel prize valued at over $21,000 will be awarded during the show to someone in the audience! 400 tickets sold.
  • Tax receipt for $25. The proceeds of this show will benefit Beakerhead educational programs at the crossroads of art, science and engineering.

Doors open at 6:00 pm for pre-show VIP reception, 7:00 pm showtime (duration approx. 90 minutes)

About the Adventure Canada prize: Win a 10-day cruise for two with Adventure Canada through the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Travel dates are June 1 – 10, 2016. Prize includes passage for two in Category 6 accommodations, and associated fees. WinnersacLogo are responsible for travel to and from the cruise ports. Open to Thursday ticket holders only. Winner must be 18 years of age or older and present when prize is announced at the show

Trailer: Rock n' Roll History of Space Exploration from Beakerhead on Vimeo.

To Space and Back with Cmdr John B. Herrington

“I think that was the best presentation I have ever seen and heard…” said one teacher after last year’s virtual visit by Commander John B. Herrington — today’s Wonderment of Beakerhead 2014: Photo Recap feature.

What’s the knack? Just being awesome and real. Herrington is a warm, skilled, passionate and tenacious mathematician, engineer, test pilot and outdoorsman, and the world’s first aboriginal astronaut. 178 classrooms across Canada and the USA joined Cmdr. John B. Herrington online during Beakerhead 2014.

Thanks to Alberta Women’s Science Network/Power to ChoosePartners in Research and the University of Calgary for partnering up on this fantastic event.

Photo by Partners in Research

Photo by Partners in Research

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Science in the Cinema, presented by Alberta Innovates – Health Solutions

Ask a Health Researcher: Is it science or is it fiction?

Ask a Health Researcher: Is it science or is it fiction? Watch the blockbuster movie “Gravity,” starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, and take part in a lively post-screening conversation on the effects of gravity on the body. The doctor on call is Canadian-born Dr. Doug Hamilton, a former NASA flight surgeon. After 14 years in Houston, the doctor and engineer recently returned to Calgary, where he’s now an associate professor in the University of Calgary’s W21C.

Beakerhead at the Calgary Stampede Parade

Come out on Friday, July 4 morning to cheer on the 131 Calgary Stampede parade entrants including #132: Beakerhead and Friends, as they make their way through Calgary downtown streets.

It takes a village!

Beakerhead is a movement of artists, scientists, makers, engineers, friends, family, young and old alike. And it wouldn’t be a Beakerhead parade float without a cool, diverse group including:

The crew from Hippo Love Mutant Vehicle
Engineers without Morals, 2013 Catharsis Catapult Competition winners
Acclaimed designer and art bike enthusiast, Rob Ward
The endearing Beakerhead astronaut
Blogger extraordinaire, Stacey Ibach and her cool boys
Aspiring ballerina scientist, Maia Kay
More labcoat-wearing “Beakerheads” than you can shake a stick at, and of course…

… Jay Ingram, famous science broadcaster and co-founder of Beakerhead.

AND a first for Calgary Stampede Parade: dissolvable confetti from Pro FX!

Thanks to Kelly Hofer for this awesome photograph of some of the Calgary Stampede participants! 

CIA: Beakerhead arrives with graffiti

Reprinted from Calgary is Awesome, 22 May 2014

Written by 

Beakerhead, Calgary’s new and only arts and science festival, is kicking off the 2014 edition early. They commissioned artist Michael W. Mateyko to create a special graffiti mural which you can see for yourselves in the underpasses on 4th Street and 14th Street along 9th Ave in the Southwest. The result is a collection of cool, wonderfully weird creatures. They were created using eco-friendly chalk and special permission from the city.  Check it out for yourself, hurry though. While the chalk is concrete friendly, it’s not water friendly. Beakerhead 2014, runs September 10 – 14. Visit for details.

Beakerhead Graffiti from Nick Taylor on Vimeo.

How we built a Raygun Gothic Rocket

Meet the team from Five Ton Crane, a group of engineers, metal workers and artists from Oakland, California who designed and built the towering 40-foot tall rocketship that’s in Calgary for Beakerhead. Hear the backstory and tour the inside of the vessel*.

About Five Ton Crane:

Five Ton Crane (5TC) is a diverse group of artists, geeks and inventors from the San Francisco Bay Area. The name implies the intention: 5TC does the heavy lifting that the individual artist couldn’t do on their own; by pooling resources, interests and talent to create opportunities for bigger, better and bolder Art. From giant projects like the Raygun Gothic Rocketship to group shows and private, client-based work… there is no job too big or too small that Five Ton Crane can’t lift to great heights.

Free, everyone welcome!


* If you miss this Speakerhead event, you can still visit the Retro Gothic Rocketship at the Victoria Park Market Walk Launch Site at these operating times from September 11 - 15:
Wednesday: noon - 8:00 pm
Thursday: noon - 8:00 pm
Friday: noon - 8:00 pm
Saturday: 10:00 am - midnight
Sunday: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm