The Evolution of Food in Space

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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

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