Earthrise by Edgar Mitchell

Earthrise by Edgar Mitchell

Author:Edgar Mitchell
Language: eng
Format: epub, azw3
Publisher: Chicago Review Press
Published: 2014-05-12T16:00:00+00:00

Space Food

Traveling to the Moon took a lot of energy—the energy to launch our rocket, the energy to keep our spacecraft running, and the energy to nourish us. But finding foods we could eat in space wasn’t easy. Initially there was some worry we might choke while trying to swallow food in zero G. Scientists also wondered if the human body could digest food in a weightless environment. But our bodies functioned just as they did on Earth. Since we didn’t have a kitchen onboard and there was limited space on the craft, our foods needed to be compact, easy to prepare, and nutritious. And because we were dining in zero G, our food couldn’t float away before it ever reached our mouths.

The NASA chefs and food scientists came up with clever ways to prepare and serve all our meals, snacks, and beverages so we were able to eat. Before liftoff, Alan, Stu, and I were given a list of about 70 different foods and beverages and asked to choose menus for our nine-day voyage. We sampled a lot of space food ahead of time. There were some tasty sounding choices like lobster bisque and peach ambrosia. But there was no getting around the fact that what we ate was freeze-dried food in plastic see-through pouches that came equipped with a straw or spoon. Long story short—it definitely wasn’t Mama’s cooking. At least we weren’t chowing down on freeze-dried frogs, lizards, or bugs we’d learned about during our desert and rain forest training.

The process of freeze-drying removed water from our foods. It helped make everything small and easy to store, prepare, and eat. We’d simply pop open a bag and add hot or cold water. After about 10 to 15 minutes, some version of soup, pasta, or fruit drink would appear. We got our hot and cold water from a nifty squirt gun-like device located next to our couches, and we’d squirt water either directly into our mouths or into our food packets. We also used a “spoon bowl,” where food came in zip-lock bags. This food was sticky enough that it wouldn’t float off the spoon.

I liked the cinnamon toast that came shaped like a small cube and the vacuum-packed roast beef sandwiches. I wasn’t crazy about some of the mushy stuff like beef stew in a baggie. Overall the food was fine, and I didn’t lose any weight during the entire mission.


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