This past Valentine’s Day marked the 25th anniversary of NASA’s world-famous “pale blue dot” photo. If you think about it, it’s amazing that when astronauts go on missions, they go for months at a time without some of the basic necessities.
But to me, it’s even more amazing that astronauts willingly leave behind freshly cooked food and deliciously unhealthy snacks for the limited space food options. While space food is now, more than ever, like food back here on Earth, some of the things that astronauts eat while in space are shocking. Check out these fun facts about space food to see what I mean:
1. Comfort Foods Are Favorites
2. Kids Aren’t the Only Ones Who Need Calcium for Strong Bones
In space, it is easy for bones to become weak, since gravity prevents a lot of bone use. To get their calcium, astronauts eat lots of yogurt while in space. Want to know how to mix up your yogurt game on earth? Try these options.
3. M&Ms Always Make It
Space shuttles almost always carry M&Ms (future missions may even carry the recently returned crispy version). They’re fun to eat, last a long time, and bring some color into a somewhat colorless space shuttle.
4. Rachel Ray Can Do Anything
Rachel Ray once cooked for the Discovery crew in 2006. NASA contacted her to do a 30 Minute Meals segment on space food, so she made Thai chicken, vegetable curry, and Swedish meatballs for the crew. These dishes were well-liked.
5. Tortillas Are the Bread of Outer Space
Tortillas last longer than sliced bread and bagels, and go with just about anything. Astronauts like to put peanut butter and jelly on their tortillas to make their version of the classic PB&J. Want to get creative with your tortillas? Check out these recipes.
6. Crumbs Are Killers
A lot of the foods that would be easy to carry and store, like chips and cookies, are actually not practical for eating in space. Chips and graham crackers are crumbly, and create a mess in a zero gravity environment. When crumbs float around, they can be hard to clean up and the astronauts end up inhaling their food rather than eating it.
7. Astronaut Ice Cream Isn’t For Astronauts
I hate to be the one to tell you this, but astronauts don’t actually eat freeze-dried ice cream. Astronaut ice cream is a huge hit in museum gift shops, but apparently not in space, as it has the consistency of Styrofoam. The astronauts of the Apollo 7 mission of 1968 weren’t fans of freeze-dried ice cream, so it has been left out of packing lists ever since.
Sad about the truth behind astronaut ice cream? Indulge in some of these diverse recipes to lessen the pain: