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By Sarah Browncross on

Space food: An out of this world menu

Mission: Space, our fabulous interstellar half term adventure, is on this week. As part of it we have a fascinating display of space food, very generously loaned to us by The Space Collective.

You can’t eat normal food in space—the lack of gravity means it won’t stay on your plate. Crumbs or drops floating off into the controls of the spacecraft could cause a big accident. This means that space food comes in pouches or pre-cut pieces. These bite-sized chicken sandwiches (below) were made as an early experiment to test food packaging to go to the Moon as part of the Apollo programme in the 1960s.

Experimental chicken sandwiches from the early days of the Apollo programme
Experimental chicken sandwiches from the early days of the Apollo programme

Keeping food fresh is also very important. Removing the water from food is a good way of preserving it, and means it takes up less room on the spacecraft. A week’s worth of dried food for an astronaut can fit into 3 shoeboxes.

Astronauts prepare the food in space by adding the right amount of water to the pouch and squeezing the packet until it’s all mixed. These drinks and puddings have their preparation instructions printed on them.

Orange drink from Apollo 7
Orange drink from Apollo 7
Chocolate pudding from Gemini 8, 1966, banana pudding from Apollo 8, 1968
L: chocolate pudding from Gemini 8, 1966; R: banana pudding from Apollo 8, 1968

Most exciting of all, we have a beef pot roast that was flown to the Moon and back in 1972 on board Apollo 17. It was meant for Ron Evans, the Command Module pilot, but he brought it back without eating it. Maybe he didn’t like pot roast?

Beef pot roast from Apollo 17
Beef pot roast from Apollo 17

If you’d like to see all this and more, Mission: Space is on until Sunday 29 October 2017.

ISS in gallery
The ISS on display at Mission: Space

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