How Do Astronauts Cook Food In Outer Space?

How Do Astronauts Cook Food In Outer Space1That is an interesting question for a couple of reasons. One, on a default it would tell us what astronauts eat in space. Secondly, it would address the question of how is the lack of gravity dealt with such that things would actually stay put. How gravity makes us interact is not something we would think about until faced with the lack of it.

Cooking in space takes a lot of trial and error as well as duct tape and plastic bags. Don’t expect to find one to the top 10 gas ranges up on a space station though because for safety reasons, the most that astronauts have to work with is a microwave. LPG gas tanks simple won’t survive the atmospheric pressure up in space.

Going back to how astronauts “cook” in space… The ground likes to send things in plastic bags upward. The duct tape goes on the table sticky side up to help keep things in place. This does get messy but once enough stuff is on the tape, it is simple to throw it away and open another strip. To cut things use a plastic bag held down by duct tape as a cutting board. It is important not to cut food into too small of pieces. The reason is it is difficult to get them off of your hand due to the lack of gravity. So they are going to have to be brushed off your hand directly into a bag. It can also be helpful to cut within the bag the food is being stored in, but you would need to be extremely careful not to cut the bag in the process.

Another thing to be aware of with food is…the food needs to not be too dry in order to be transferred when it is done. In order to remedy this, foods that are normally served dry, such as scrambled eggs, need sauce added to them. A final thing that may not be so obvious is: there is a lot of trash involved at every stage of cooking in space. Unlike when on the ground, it needs to be cleaned up immediately because of the lack of gravity. It would also be safe to assume that when cooking in space, a lot of disinfectant wipes are gone thru as well.

A final interesting tidbit that would be obvious if you thought about it…spices such as salt and pepper are only available in liquid form. If they were there in solid form, they would just float away. This could result in getting in someone’s eyes or just as bad damaging vents.

Also see: Will Drones Soon Be Carrying People In The Skies?