How do astronauts overcome gravity while eating in space? Click To Tweet I hadn’t given it much thought until Joy Billings from labeley.com contacted me with a link to this fabulous infographic. She asked if I’d be interested in featuring this image on my site and after reading through the very cool information jammed into this graphic I had to share.

Space in the News

Space is a very hot topic.  I found these articles just by googling ‘current space news’:

Is it especially relevant that a great deal of the space mind trust is devoted to getting humans settled in space?  Maybe I’m hoping that’s not bad news for the fate of Earth.  I like my planet.  I’m quite sure I don’t have the adventuresome spirit required to leave this terra firma.  Regardless of my fears and proclivities, there will be many who will jump at the chance to be among the first space colonists – likely of Mars.  The main thought of most potential space colonists will be, ‘What am I gonna eat while living in space’?

What Do Astronauts Eat?

It's a long trip to anywhere in space. You're going to have to eat. Click To Tweet So what are the food stuffs that you will likely be consuming during your long flight.  And when you make it to Mars, after perhaps some hypersleep to pass the time on this very long trip, what will you eat until you can figure out how to grow food on your new planet?

To find out check out the infographic from labely.com.  Discover:

  • the history of space eating,
  • packaging of space food,
  • preservation of space food,
  • and how the heck do you deal with zero gravity and eat?

Infographic - Evolution of Food in Space: From Bland Puree to Almost Like on Earth
http://labeley.com/article/space-food-infographic/, by permission, labeley.com

I found this infographic fascinating.  Its hard to deal with zero gravity in space and eat at the same time.  Sticky food as a must to stick to utensils seems rational.  Who wants to chase down their food floating in space.  Two things, however, I did find disturbing about food in spaceflight.

The Downside to Eating in Space

Number 1:  No wine because fermentation is not sterile.

I could not live without my red wine – I don’t drink a lot but I do love a glass or two weekly.  I can understand that space ships have limited resources and limited refrigeration makes long-term preservation an issue.  There is also the teeny issue of inebriated astronauts operating their vehicle safely. There are, however, arguments (that I wholeheartedly support) for bringing it on space flights.  If it is bagged properly it could last a long time without refrigeration.  This article by Rebecca Boyle from Popular Science, “DRINK UP! RED WINE CAN COUNTERACT THE NEGATIVE AFTEREFFECTS OF SPACE TRAVEL“, outlines some convincing health benefits of including wine in the astronaut’s diet.  If you’re gonna send people up there for indefinite periods of time, wine might prove to be a way to bring a little creature comfort along with an immune system boost.

Eating in Space: How do Astronauts Make it Awesome? How do astronauts deal with zero gravity while eating in space? The team at labeley.com have produced this cool infographic to outline the process.

NASA, public domain, via Wiki Commons

Number 2:  No carbonated beverages in space.

Now, I’m not a big fan of soda.  I could probably live without it (as long as I could have my wine ).  But I had to ask myself why carbonation would be a problem in space.  A little research and I discovered the answer.  According to NASA, carbon dioxide bubbles do not rise to the surface in a weightless environment.  They stay evenly distributed in the beverage.  On Earth, when you pour a beer or soda, the bubble rise to the surface and many escape meaning you are swallowing less carbonation.  In space, astronauts would be swallowing all the carbon dioxide gas.

I don’t know about you, but when I drink too much soda in a small amount of time I feel bloated and I belch – a lot.  A little soda or beer would have the same effect in space except that as the gas can’t separate from the liquid even inside the astronaut, their burps would be very wet.  It would be like clouds of vomit floating around the interior of the ship and this would not be great for anyone on the flight and really messy to clean up after.

As always, technology may come to the rescue for the beer and soda-loving astronauts.  NASA has also provided some research looking to make low carbonation beverages for space travel.  As the possibility of longer and longer spaceflight looms it becomes more important to make those creature comforts available to save the sanity of future space colonists.

How Astronauts Overcome Gravity and Eat

So, how do astronauts eat in space? Joy Billings and labeley.com have given us clear insight into space eating. Click To Tweet Minimal packaging that’s sanitary is a must with little waste and preferably sticky so flying food is minimized. Appetizing…..probably not unless you like the freeze-dried fare eaten by some campers and soldiers.  If you like that sort of fare, you’d probably be a great candidate for the first colonization team to Mars!

 

 

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