nasa food

Happy #NationalPizzaDay…In Space!

STS-094 - Pizza in Spacelab
File Unit: STS-94, 4/12/1981 - 7/21/2011Series: Mission Photographs Taken During the Space Shuttle Program , 4/12/1981 - 7/21/2011Record Group 255: Records of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 1903 - 2006 

Description: Views of a partially eaten pizza taken by the STS-94 crew while in the Spacelab module to document that the food was eatable. Space

Since 2000, humans have continuously lived and worked on the International Space Station. That means plenty of crew members have celebrated holidays off the Earth.

Although they’re observing the same holidays, they do so in a slightly different way because of the unique environment 250 miles above the Earth.

Consider the differences of living on Earth and in space…

Food scientists must develop foods that will be easier to handle and consume in an environment without gravity. The food must not require refrigeration and also provide the nutrition humans need to remain healthy.

Freeze drying food allows it to remain stable at room temperature, while also significantly reducing its weight.

Did you know that all the food sent to the space station is precooked? Sending precooked food means that it requires no refrigeration and is either ready to eat or can be prepared by simply adding water or by heating. 

The only exception are the fruit and vegetables stowed in the fresh food locker. The food comes in either freeze-dried containers or thermostabilized pouches. If freeze-dried in a vacuum sealed package, the astronauts have a rehydration system in-flight, which they use restore moisture in their food.  If thermostabilized, the packaging is designed to preserve the food similar to canned products, but instead in a flexible, multi-layered pouch.

So what will the space station crew eat this year (2016) for Thanksgiving?

  • Turkey
  • Cherry/Blueberry Cobbler
  • Candied Yams
  • Rehydratable Cornbread Dressing
  • Rehydratable Green Beans and Mushrooms
  • Rehydratable Mashed Potatoes

What are you bringing to Thanksgiving on Earth this year? Treat your family and friends astronaut-style with this cornbread dressing recipe straight out of our Space Food Systems Laboratory…no freeze drying required!

For spaceflight preparation:

Baked dressing is transferred to metal tray and freeze-dried accordingly. One serving of cornbread dressing shall weigh approximately 145 g prior to freeze-drying and 50 g after freeze-drying.

Learn more about our Food Systems Laboratory in this Facebook Live video:

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Schrodinger's Cat Explained: YUMMY EDITION

So you’re here to learn about quantum physics? We’ll start out with something easy.


This is the start of Schrodinger and his cat, Maxine.

Erwin Schrodinger arrives home from a whole days work studying quantum physics, frustrated with the Copenhagen view of quantum physics. He sat down by the fireplace in his favorite chair, poured himself some Bourbon, and started to think about his work.

Maxine the cat, however, was annoyed. “Why on earth has he not fed me yet?!” thought Maxine. “It’s not like he has anything better to do than to cater to my every need! ” Maxine was quite serious about this.

So Maxine devised an ingenious plan.

About an hour later, Schrodinger was thoroughly surprised when his cat fell from the sky onto his head.

Here is a little known history fact:
In the instance that Maxine jumped off the bookshelf, she suffered a heart attack, sadly causing her to die mid-flight. So Schrodinger was ACTUALLY surprised with a DEAD cat falling on his head.

After dealing with the aftermath, Schrodinger, like any good physicist, started to think again.

Two days later, Erwin Schrodinger published his so called “thought experiment”.

Here is what he said: (approximated for brevity’s purposes, lol)


 Schrödinger’s cat: a cat, a flask of poison, and a radioactive source are placed in a sealed box. If an internal monitor detects radioactivity (i.e., a single atom decaying), the flask is shattered, releasing the poison that kills the cat. The Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics implies that after a while, the cat is simultaneously alive and dead. Yet, when one looks in the box, one sees the cat either alive or dead, not both alive and dead. This poses the question of when exactly quantum superposition ends and reality collapses into one possibility or the other.

[ Schrodinger’s posed question was this: "when does a quantum system stop existing as a superposition of states and become one or the other?“ (More technically, when does the actual quantum state stop being a linear combination of states, each of which resembles different classical states, and instead begin to have a unique classical description?)]

One can even set up quite ridiculous cases. A cat is penned up in a steel chamber, along with the following device (which must be secured against direct interference by the cat): in a Geiger counter, there is a tiny bit of radioactive substance, so small, that perhaps in the course of the hour one of the atoms decays, but also, with equal probability, perhaps none; if it happens, the counter tube discharges and through a relay releases a hammer that shatters a small flask of hydrocyanic acid. If one has left this entire system to itself for an hour, one would say that the cat still lives if meanwhile no atom has decayed. The first atomic decay would have poisoned it. The psi-function of the entire system would express this by having in it the living and dead cat (pardon the expression) mixed or smeared out in equal parts. It is typical of these cases that an indeterminacy originally restricted to the atomic domain becomes transformed into macroscopic indeterminacy, which can then be resolved by direct observation. That prevents us from so naively accepting as valid a “blurred model” for representing reality. In itself, it would not embody anything unclear or contradictory. There is a difference between a shaky or out-of-focus photograph and a snapshot of clouds and fog banks.
— Erwin Schrödinger

Wikipedia. Com (100% accurate, bro)
Schrodinger’s Written works

(Note: some of the information in the introduction is definitely fictitious.  This doesn’t mean it isn’t funny though.)

Summed up:

Schrodinger was a genius Austrian Physicist in the mid-20th century.  He devised a though experiment (which is thought to be a paradox)  that explains how quantum mechanics deals with a system (in this case, a cat)  when it transitions from one ‘state’ (like life)  to another (death). The theory also explains that at some point,  the cat is both alive and dead at the same “time”. However,  an observer can only see one of those two states at once.  (Like how an atom can be either positively charged,  or negatively at the same time. And how we can only ever view one of those two states at a time)

Confused?  Yeah,  you should be. This is an experiment in quantum physics that has had people coming up with whole new interpretations of quantum physics since it was published in November of 1935.

Thanks for reading! Throw a follow at me if you liked it!  :D

Space Food

Food: everyone needs it to survive and in space there’s no exception. Let’s take a closer look at what astronauts eat while in space. 

Since the start of human spaceflight, we’ve worked to improve the taste, texture and shelf life of food for our crews. Our food scientists are challenged with developing healthy menus that can meet all of the unique requirements for living and working in the extreme environment of space.

Consider the differences of living on Earth and in space. Food scientists must develop foods that will be easier to handle and consume in a microgravity environment. These food products require no refrigeration and provide the nutrition humans need to remain healthy during spaceflight.

Freeze drying food allows food to remain stable at ambient temperatures, while also significantly reducing the weight.

Fun Facts About Space Food:

Astronauts use tortillas in many of their meals

Tortillas provide an edible wrapper to keep food from floating away. Why tortillas and not bread? Tortillas make far less crumbs and can be stored easier. Bread crumbs could potentially float around and get stuck in filters or equipment.

The first food eaten by an American astronaut in space: Applesauce

The first American astronaut to eat in space dined on applesauce squeezed from a no-frills, aluminum toothpaste-like tube. Since then, food technology has cooked up better ways to prepare, package and preserve space fare in a tastier, more appetizing fashion.

All food that is sent to the space station is precooked

Sending precooked food means that it requires no refrigeration and is either ready to eat or can be prepared simply by adding water or by heating. The only exception are the fruit and vegetables stowed in the fresh food locker.

Salt and pepper are used in liquid form on the International Space Station

Seasonings like salt and pepper have to be used in liquid form and dispensed through a bottle on the space station. If they were granulated, the particles would float away before they even reached the food.

Food can taste bland in space

Some people who live in space have said that food is not the same while in microgravity. Some say that it tastes bland, some do not like their favorite foods and some love to eat foods they would never eat on Earth. We believe this phenomenon is caused by something called “stuffy head” This happens when crew member’s heads get stopped up because blood collects in the upper part of the body. For this reason, hot sauce is used A LOT on the space station to make up for the bland flavor.

Astronaut ice cream is not actually eaten on the space station

Even though astronaut ice cream is sold in many science centers and enjoyed by many people on Earth, it’s not actually sent to the space station. That said, whenever there is space in a freezer heading to orbit, the astronauts can get real ice cream onboard! 

Instead of bowls there are bags and cans

Most American food is stored in sealed bags, while most Russian food is kept in cans. 

Here’s what the crew aboard the space station enjoyed during Thanksgiving in 2015: 

  • Smoked Turkey
  • Candied Yams
  • Rehydratable Corn
  • Potatoes Au Gratin 

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What Astronauts in Space Eat in a Day

There was a time when even NASA didn’t know if humans could eat in the microgravity environment of space. Thankfully for the future of long-term crewed missions, John Glenn proved that it was indeed possible when he ate applesauce from an aluminum tube while orbiting the Earth in 1962.

Since then, the research conducted at our Space Food Systems Laboratory at Johnson Space Center has resulted in improved taste, variety and packaging of foods intended for space travel. Current-day astronauts are now given a standard menu of over 200 approved food and drink items months before launch, allowing them to plan their daily meals far in advance.

So, with such a variety of foods to choose from, what does the typical astronaut eat in a day?  Here is an example from the International Space Station standard menu:

Sounds tasty, right?

However, these are only suggestions for astronauts, so they still have some choice over what they ultimately eat. Many astronauts, including Tim Kopra, combine different ingredients for meals.

Others plan to eat special foods for the holidays. Astronauts Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren did just that on Thanksgiving last year when they ate smoked turkey, candied yams, corn and potatoes au gratin.

Another key factor that influences what astronauts eat is the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables, which are delivered via resupply spacecrafts.  When these foods arrive to the space station, they must be eaten quickly before they spoil. Astronaut Tim Peake doesn’t seem to mind.

Nutrition is important to help counteract some of the effects spaceflight have on the body, such as bone and muscle loss, cardiovascular degradation, impairment of immune function, neurovestibular changes and vision changes. 

“Nutrition is vital to the mission,” Scott M. Smith, Ph.D., manager for NASA’s Nutritional Biochemistry Lab said. “Without proper nutrition for the astronauts, the mission will fail. It’s that simple.”

We work hard to help astronauts feel less homesick by providing them with food that not only reminds them of life back on Earth, but is also nutritious and healthy. 

Here are some unusual space food inventions that are no longer in use:

  • Gelatin-coated sandwich and cookie cubes
  • Compressed bacon squares
  • Freeze dried ice cream

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space:

Happy #NationalTacoDay – In Space!

Flight Engineer Soichi Noguchi of the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) lets his taco float in the microgravity of the International Space Station during mission STS-132 of @nasa’s Space Shuttle Atlantis.

“View of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Soichi Noguchi, STS-132 Flight Engineer (FE) in the Node 1. Taco is floating in the foreground. Photo was taken during Expedition 23 / STS-132 Joint Operations. “

File Unit: STS-132, 4/12/1981 - 7/21/2011Series: Mission Photographs Taken During the Space Shuttle Program , 4/12/1981 - 7/21/2011Record Group 255: Records of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 1903 - 2006


1) Packing lunches

Most of the meals are just-add-water, or come ready to eat in pouches. There are also packaged foods an ordinary person could buy from a store, like almonds or wrapped brownies. Hot and cold beverages come in bags with straws, similar to a Capri Sun. Food packets attach to the galley table with velcro patches so they don’t fly away.

2) Getting creative on Mars

NASA wants to load a vessel with food and send it to Mars before the astronauts set off. That means food scientists have to make meals that will stay good for five years.

3) The challenges

Some nutrients break down naturally over time; space radiation — cosmic rays and other forms of radiation that Earth’s atmosphere normally blocks — could be an added problem. Meals must take into account the special challenges to astronauts’ bodies in space, such as weightlessness, shrinking bones, and squashing eyeballs. 

4) Growing crops on the spaceship 

And even on the surface of another planet — could solve several of these problems at once. Astronauts wouldn’t need to lug as much food with them. They’d have fresh produce rich in vitamins. And they could mix up their menus with some of that texture they miss.

5) Keeping astronauts happy and healthy

NASA is studying how the senses of smell and taste change in microgravity and isolation, for example. In one study, researchers are supplying comfort foods and holiday treats to the space station, with astronauts filling out mood questionnaires before and after eating. The crew will also rate solo versus communal meals, as well as the experience of “cooking” the food themselves. 

“At the end of the day, we’re not worried about the muscle cells. We’re worried about the human.“

via Eater.

Happy #NationalSandwichDay…In Space!

“STS-43 Pilot Michael A. Baker, seated at the forward flight deck pilots station controls, eats a freefloating peanut butter and jelly sandwich while holding a carrot. Surrounding Baker on Atlantis’, Orbiter Vehicle (OV) 104’s, flight deck are procedural checklists, control panels, and windows. A lemonade drink bag is velcroed to overhead panel O9.”

Photos from: File Unit: STS-43, 4/12/1981 - 7/21/2011Series: Mission Photographs Taken During the Space Shuttle Program , 4/12/1981 - 7/21/2011Record Group 255: Records of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 1903 - 2006

tag yourself

Carina Nebula - You like dogs and hiking/camping. You have an infectious laugh. You rarely remember your dreams. You get shitty food with friends at 2am sometimes.

Ant Nebula - You love tattoos, wild coloured hair, and other fun body mods. If you wear nail varnish, it’s often chipped. People often think they know you better than they actually do.

Omega Nebula - You’re a lady who likes to kiss ladies. You like to sketch and wish you were better at it. You like to swim in natural bodies of water, like lakes or streams.

SNR 0509 - You like to be prepared. You plan for every contingency you can think of when you try something new, because you hate when things spin out of control. You’re friendly but guarded.

Rosette Nebula - You live life as hard as you know how. You put on a bold “take me or leave me, fuckers” approach with new people. You’re passionate about your hobbies. Your nicknames for your friends are full of swear words.

Crab Nebula - You’re an artist and you love to create beautiful things. You’re constantly struggling to understand and express yourself better. You’re broke as fuck but you’re really good at making the most of it.

NGC 604 - You don’t know what the fuck you’re doing most of the time, and you survive solely on good intentions. It works out for you sometimes, like with one or two old friends, but you’re really hoping to get a better handle on things soon.

Helix Nebula - You’re super into dragons and also at least one video game with fantasy elements. There is at least one poster in your room that has more black than any other colour. You prefer to stay up super late and get up midmorning.

Red Rectangle Nebula - Bringing order to chaos is kind of your thing. You’re the person everyone counts on to know what the fuck is going on when no one else does. You always know where things are and you can clean a room faster than anyone you know.