Watch Astronauts Make Space Pizza
19 July 2018
What would it be like to make pizza in zero gravity?
Judging by the pizzas slowly floating by the camera on the International Space Station, one thing is clear to everyone, they love pizza with extra pepperoni.
Astronauts aboard the International Space Station made pizza in zero gravity, making for an unusual spectacle of floating food.
It looks like making the food was extra-fun because they got to play with it in between bites.
The videos show the crew working together to add sauce and toppings to the pizza crusts before wrapping them in foil to be heated up.
Plenty of floating pizzas being passed between the astronauts. The project was part of a movie night, Nasa said.
Paolo Nespoli, an Italian astronaut and Europe’s oldest space explorer (he’s 60-years old), thanked his on team members on Earth for sending his crew pizza ingredients after he “casually mentioned” that he missed pizza.
The ingredients flew up on a commercial supply ship, and the crew wasted little time pulling out the flatbread, tomato sauce, cheese, pepperoni, olives, olive oil, anchovy paste and pesto.
Another astronaut, Randy Bresnik, part of the IPDS (Intergalactic Pizza Devouring Squad), gave the pizza “12 thumbs up!” and referred to the pizzas as “flying saucers of the edible kind.”
'The IPDS (Intergalactic Pizza Devouring Squad) says 12 thumbs up!' Bresnik added.
NASA's space station manager, Kirk Shireman, took pity on Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli's pizza craving and, in mid-November, shipped up all the ingredients on an Orbital ATK capsule.
Although astronauts need to meet strict dietary requirements in space, today's crews are much luckier than those of the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo eras back in the 1960s and 1970s. Back then, much of the food was consumed by tube. They didn't even have a proper toilet in the tiny spacecraft — just hoses and baggies. (The Expedition 53 crew has two toilets to use on the International Space Station.)
In 2013, NASA funded a prototype 3D printer to create food on long-duration space missions — and that food included pizza. The system was expected to build the pizza in layers, from printing the dough, to adding the tomato "sauce" (powder and oil) to layering on protein to replace traditional toppings.
Funny enough, astronauts' taste preferences may change in space because bodily fluids stuff up their heads. This makes spicy food a favorite because it doesn't feel like you're eating the same dull thing all the time.
Space food is a type of food product created and processed for consumption by astronauts in outer space. The food has specific requirements of providing balanced nutrition for individuals working in space, while being easy and safe to store, prepare and consume in the machinery-filled weightless environments of manned spacecraft.
In recent years, space food has been used by various nations engaging on space programs as a way to share and show off their cultural identity and facilitate intercultural communication. Although astronauts consume a wide variety of foods and beverages in space, the initial idea from The Man in Space Committee of the Space Science Board in 1963 was to supply astronauts with a formula diet that would supply all the needed vitamins and nutrients.
For lunch on Vostok I (1961) Yuri Gagarin ate from three 160 g toothpaste-type tubes, two of which contained servings of puréed meat and one which contained chocolate sauce.
In August 1961, Soviet Cosmonaut Gherman Titov became the first human to experience space sickness on Vostok II; he holds the record for being the first person to vomit in space. According to Lane and Feeback, this event "heralded the need for space flight nutrition."
One of John Glenn's many tasks, as the first American to orbit Earth in 1962, was to experiment with eating in weightless conditions. Some experts had been concerned that weightlessness would impair swallowing. Glenn experienced no difficulties and it was determined that microgravity did not affect the natural swallowing process, which is enabled by the peristalsis of the esophagus.
Astronauts in later Mercury missions (1959–1963) disliked the food that was provided. They ate bite-sized cubes, freeze-dried powders, and tubes of semiliquids. The astronauts found it unappetizing, experienced difficulties in rehydrating the freeze-dried foods, and did not like having to squeeze tubes or collect crumbs. Prior to the mission, the astronauts were also fed low residual launch-day breakfasts, to reduce the chances that they would defecate in flight.
PROJECT GEMINI AND APOLLO (1965–1975)
Several of the food issues from the Mercury missions were addressed for the later Gemini missions (1965–1966). Tubes (often heavier than the foods they contained) were abandoned. Gelatin coatings helped to prevent bite-sized cubes from crumbling. Simpler rehydration methods were developed. The menus also expanded to include items such as shrimp cocktail, chicken and vegetables, toast squares, butterscotch pudding, and apple juice.
The crew of Gemini III snuck a corned beef sandwich on their spaceflight. Mission Commander Gus Grissom loved corned beef sandwiches, so Pilot John Young brought one along, having been encouraged by fellow astronaut Walter Schirra. However, Young was supposed to eat only approved food, and Grissom was not supposed to eat anything.
Floating pieces of bread posed a potential problem, causing Grissom to put the sandwich away (although he did enjoy it) and the astronauts were mildly rebuked by NASA for the act. A congressional hearing was called, forcing the NASA deputy administrator George Mueller to promise no repeats. NASA took special care about what astronauts brought along on future missions.
Prior to the Apollo program (1968–1975), early space food development was conducted at the US Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine and the Natick Army Labs. The variety of food options continued to expand for the Apollo missions.
The new availability of hot water made rehydrating freeze-dried foods simpler, and produced a more appetizing result. The "spoon-bowl" allowed more normal eating practices. Food could be kept in special plastic zip-closure containers, and its moisture allowed it to stick to a spoon.
APOLLO 11 (1969)
On Sunday, 20 July 1969, Buzz Aldrin, on the moon, partook of the Presbyterian Christian sacrament of Holy Communion, which had been consecrated by his pastor, the Rev. Dean Woodruff, two weeks prior to the space mission.
I poured the wine into the chalice our church had given me. In the one-sixth gravity of the moon the wine curled slowly and gracefully up the side of the cup. It was interesting to think that the very first liquid ever poured on the moon, and the first food eaten there, were communion elements. —Buzz Aldrin
Aldrin received the Eucharist in the same hour that his local church did on that Sunday Sabbath and he later stated that "I sensed especially strongly my unity with our church back home, and with the Church everywhere".
Larger living areas on the Skylab space station (1973–1974) allowed for an on-board refrigerator and freezer, which allowed perishable and frozen items to be stored and made microgravity the primary obstacle.
When Skylab's solar panels were damaged during its launch and the station had to rely on minimal power from the Apollo Telescope Mount until Skylab 2 crewmembers performed repairs, the refrigerator and freezer were among the systems that Mission Control kept operational.
Menus included 72 items; for the first time about 15% was frozen. Shrimp cocktail and butter cookies were consistent favorites; Lobster Newburg, fresh bread, processed meat products, and ice cream were among other choices. A dining room table and chairs, fastened to the floor and fitted with foot and thigh restraints, allowed for a more normal eating experience. The trays used could warm the food, and had magnets to hold eating utensils and scissors used for opening food containers.
The food was similar to that used for Apollo, but canned for preservation; the crew found it to be better than that of Apollo but still unsatisfying, partially due to food tasting different in space than on Earth.
The frozen foods were the most popular, and they enjoyed spicy foods due to head congestion from weightlessness dulling their senses of taste and smell.
Weightlessness also complicated both eating and cleaning up; crews spent up to 90 minutes a day on housekeeping.
After astronaut requests, NASA bought Paul Masson Rare Cream Sherry for one Skylab mission and packaged some for testing on a reduced gravity aircraft. In microgravity smells quickly permeate the environment and the agency found that the sherry triggered the gag reflex. Concern over public reaction to taking alcohol into space led NASA to abandon its plans, so astronauts drank the purchased supply while consuming their pre-mission special diet.
The astronauts of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (1975) received samples of Soviet space food when the combined crew dined together. Among the foods provided by Soyuz 19 were canned beef tongue, packaged Riga bread, and tubes of borscht (beet soup) and caviar. The borscht was labeled "vodka".
As part of the Interkosmos space program, allies of the Soviet Union have actively participated in the research and deployment of space technologies. The Institute of Cryobiology and Lyophilization (now the Institute of Cryobiology and Food Technology), founded in 1973 as a part of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, has since produced space food for the purposes of the program.
The menu includes traditional Bulgarian dishes such as tarator, sarma, musaka, lyutenitza, kiselo mlyako, dried vegetables and fruits, etc.
|Written by: Luis Clement|