Food eaten by astronauts aren’t mysterious concoctions but foods prepared here on earth, with many commercially available on local markets.
Like fruits, nuts, brownies, chicken, seafood, candy etc. beverages like tea, coffee, juices & lemonade.
Astronauts decide their menu about 5 months before they fly.
They just need to add hot or cold water and give it a good shake to prepare it.
Apart from the food they’re also supplied with cutlery, waste disposal packs & food warmer technology on their missions.
EATING FOOD IN SPACE: -
Astronauts eat 3 meals a day- breakfast, lunch & dinner and also the menu repeats after every 7 days. thanks to which each crewman is furnished with three balanced meals, plus snacks.
The astronauts are given the prospect of a sample of foods and beverages available for flight. Each astronaut's food is labeled with colored dot pasted to each package to differentiate their food preferences & diet demand from alternative crew members.
Their foods are customized & supported the suggested dietary allowances of vitamins and minerals necessary to perform within the setting of the space environment.
Recommendations are made to correct any nutrient deficiencies supporting the suggested Dietary Allowances, after which the menus are finalized.
The astronaut food is evaluated around eight to nine months before the flight.
TYPES OF SPACE FOOD: -
Rehydratable food: food within which water is removed ( additionally called freeze drying). Example: hot cereal like oatmeal could be a rehydratable food.(which may be reconstituted with water).
Irradiated meat: these products are cooked and packaged in foil pouches & sterilized by radiation so as to stay fresh at temperature. Example: beef and turkey.
Fresh food: foods freshly prepared with a shelf life of 2 days. Examples include apples and bananas.
Thermostabilized items: prepared with heat to exterminate possible spoiling agents. Example: fruits & fish in cans.
Intermediate moisture: prepared by taking some water out of the food leaving enough to maintain soft texture. Example: dried peaches, apricots, and jerky.
Frozen foods: These foods are quickly frozen to forestall a buildup of enormous ice crystals. Thus, the qualitative aspect is maintained which includes its original texture as well as its fresh taste. Examples include quiches, casseroles etc.
Refrigerated Food: These foods need cold or cool temperatures to forestall spoilage. Examples include cheese and cream.
HOW IS SPACE FOOD PREPARED: -
The luggage carried into space affects the fuel consumption at take off. It is important to eliminate the utmost amount of weight possible. Because the fuel cells on the spacecraft produce water as a byproduct, water is well attainable. Therefore, taking foods along which will be rehydrated with this water is wise because this reduces the quantity of weight on liftoff. The rehydrated foods also take up much less space, and space is also a valuable commodity onboard the ballistic capsule.
Certain fruits or vegetables when exposed to air, tend to oxidize resulting in browning of their surface. There is a spread of processing techniques which will be accustomed to fresh-treated fruit and vegetables: irradiation, a wax coating, an ethylene inhibitor (ethylene may be a plant material that causes ripening), controlled atmosphere packaging, modified atmosphere packaging, and so the utilization of chemical inhibitors.
Some foods are easily browned, like bananas, apples, pears, and peaches. they will be protected against browning by keeping it from being exposed to air or by using antioxidants ( vitamin C).
CLASSIFYING FOOD: -
Food Groups and Suggested daily Servings:
Grain six to eleven servings (Bread, Cereal, Rice, and Pasta).
Fruit a pair of to four servings.
Vegetable three to 5 servings.
Meat a pair of to a few servings (Meats, Poultry, Fish, Eggs, and Nuts).
dairy farm a pair of to 3 servings (Milk, Yogurt, and Cheese).
Oil Use meagerly (Fats and Sweets).
OVERCOMING MICROGRAVITY IN SPACE: -
A microgravity setting is one among which the effect of gravity is greatly reduced. Microgravity happens once a space vehicle orbits Earth. The space vehicle and each one its contents in associate degree are in an extreme state of free-fall.
Because of this development, foods are packaged and served to prevent food from moving regarding the space vehicle or ISS. Crumbs and liquids may harm instrumentality or be inhaled.
Special straws are used for drinking the liquids. They have clamps that will be closed to forestall the liquids from crawling out by the processes of capillary action and natural phenomenon once not being consumed.
Microgravity additionally causes the utensils used for eating to float away. The knife, fork, spoon, and scissors square measure secured to magnets on the food receptacle when they do not appear to be being utilized. The implications of microgravity have an infinite impact on the event of space food packaging, food choice, and connected food system needs.
PICTURES FROM THE CURRENT INDIAN GAGANYAN MISSION 2022: -
Fig 1. ISRO Indian space food Fig 2. Clamp liquid beverages
Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology
St. Xavier's College, Ahmedabad
IMAGE REFERENCE: -