recommended reading

Astronauts' Favorite Space Food: Shrimp Cocktail

Val Thoermer/

Here's the thing about space food. While it might seem exotic to people here on Earth -- to people who live in some relative proximity to a farm or a grocery store -- space food is awesome only in the sense that it is eaten in space. Otherwise, the stuff is not at all awesome. Space food tends to be dry. Or else slimy. Or else just weird: different enough from the product it's trying to emulate that it serves only as a sad reminder of what it is not. Space food -- when actually consumed, rather than bought at a gift shop -- is pretty horrendous. 

This is compounded by an unfortunate circumstance of space life: Microgravity affects humans' taste buds, making it hard for astronauts to taste flavors in their food even when those flavors are technically present and technically delicious. Without gravity to pull blood toward the feet, especially during the first few days in space, "your head sort of inflates like someone is squeezing the bottom of a balloon," explains current astronaut Chris Hadfield. The results are clogged sinuses and the hindered flavor reception that comes with them. "It's kind of like having a cold; you're kind of stuffy,'' Charles Bourland, formerly NASA's manager for space station food, puts it.

So NASA has teams dedicated to imagining, and then manufacturing, foods that will prove maximally nutritious and minimally disgusting to the men and women who must eat them. Over the years, via cube and tube and bar and powder and dehydration and rehydration, space agency scientists have found ways to make things like steak and apple sauce and peanut butter cookies suited to the many vagaries of space. They have developed a veritable cornucopia of freeze-dried, vacuum-packed, crumb-reducing, and morale-boosting delicacies. 

Read more at The Atlantic

(Image via Val Thoermer/

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.