Space food (or just “food” as they call it in space) has to be carefully prepared and packaged to be consumed by astronauts. Often having a long shelf life for prolonged missions, foods eaten in space include irradiated beef steak and rehydratable beverages. Mmm, sounds…delicious...
But Britain’s first official astronaut Major Tim Peake will be enjoying a more sumptuous fare, as he’ll be dining on Michelin-starred food aboard the International Space Station (ISS) when he arrives there in December.
Currently undergoing rigorous tests and training in Houston, Peake will spend six months in space to further our knowledge of how microgravity affects the body. During this time, the lucky cosmonaut will have the opportunity to feast on a fine-dining fiesta, which has been put together by chef and cookery wizard Heston Blumenthal.
Major Tim Peake training for microgravity underwater. The Telegraph.
Enlisting the help of British schoolchildren to curate the meals Peake will eat aboard the ISS, Blumenthal has created a three-course meal ‘rocket lolly’ (tomato soup, curry and Eton mess) and The Great British Space Dinner of a Sunday roast in a helmet-shaped pie.
"It’s going to be a great experiment,” said Major Peake to the Telegraph. “I’ve tested a few of the dishes and they are delicious, so it’s one of the things I am really looking forward to when I get up there.”
However, the food will probably be the furthest thing on his mind during his mission, as Peake has to undertake 25 demanding experiments on himself to monitor the damage spaceflight can inflict on the human body.
Radiation and the lack of resistance from gravity have caused hearing and vision problems, bone wastage, muscle loss and dehydration for astronauts examined since 1989, even on the shortest of missions.
“The preparations for the mission started two and half years ago but things have really started to ramp up in the last few months,” said Peake. “I am in at 7am in the morning for blood tests.
“The science experiments are now being confirmed and there will be 25 which are looking at human physiology and the scientists need a good set of body data so there will be 18 months of readings to compare, from everything to bone density to ocular health.”
While Peake is Britain’s first official astronaut and the first to visit the ISS, a Brit has already made the journey into space before him. In 1991, Sheffield chemist Helen Sharman won a competition and traveled to the Mir Space Station.
Major Peake will launch from the Russia-owned Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in December 2015. His haute cuisine will soar off to the ISS on a supply rocket ahead of his arrival.
[H/T: The Telegraph]