Eating in Space . . .

Scott Kelly corrals the supply of fresh fruit that arrived on the Kounotori 5 H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV-5), August 25, 2015. Visiting cargo ships often carry a small cache of fresh food for crew members aboard the International Space Station. © NASA

By Rachel Young, Cricket Media

Going to outer space is a little like going camping. You have to carry with you all the food and equipment you need for your trip, so your food can’t be too heavy or hard to prepare. Plus, there are no refrigerators to keep food cold and fresh.

Food with all the water dried out is lightweight and doesn’t spoil. So, many space foods are dried on Earth and stored in special packets. Some, such as dried apricots or pears, taste good right out of the packet.

But to eat the turkey and dressing in this outer-space Thanksgiving dinner, an astronaut must add water and heat the packets in a small oven.

On Earth, gravity is the force that keeps your feet on the ground and your sandwich on your plate. But there’s no gravity in space. To keep food from floating away, astronauts on the Space Shuttle attach the packets to this special tray with Velcro. The tray can be strapped to a wall or to the astronaut’s lap.

To flavor their food, astronauts use liquid forms of salt and pepper. The liquid sticks to the food better. Regular salt and pepper would float away, maybe up an astronaut’s nose. Achoo!

Liquids float right out of cups or glasses, though. So astronauts drink everything from a pouch with a straw that can be closed.

Astronauts say that most space foods taste pretty good. Some, such as apples, pudding, or brownies, are the same as the foods you eat on Earth. But on Earth apples fall down when you let go of them.

Hungry for a PBJ? Try it on a tortilla. Astronauts use tortillas instead of bread because they make fewer crumbs. Floating crumbs could get stuck in equipment or an astronaut’s eye.

. . . and Pooping in Space

Your body uses food in space the same way it does on Earth. Muscles in your throat and stomach push food through your body, whether you’re sitting upright or hanging around upside down.

Your body must get rid of waste in space too. If you eat and drink, you have to poop and pee.

During takeoff and landing, astronauts can’t leave their seats to go to the bathroom. They wear diapers under their spacesuits instead.

The Space Shuttle has a bathroom the size of a small closet. The toilet has thigh bars and Velcro straps that keep astronauts from floating away.

A strong flow of air is used instead of water to flush poop and pee down the toilet. Pee is sent into space. The poop is stored in bags. Back on Earth it’s flushed away—or sometimes studied by scientists.

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Kids Magazine: Eating in Space . . .
Eating in Space . . .
Kids Magazine
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