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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.

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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.

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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:

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Sounds tasty, right?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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. 

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

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

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Source: You’ll find lots of information about the planets Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Also we have facts about the space station, ISS, SpaceX launch, space program, and outerspace. NASA

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What Astronauts in Space Eat in a Day

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