What to eat in space: from tacos to extra virgin olive oil

But pizza, tacos and many other tasty foods have already arrived in the station. In 2022 the oil will be launched on the ISS with the mission of Samantha Cristoforetti.

The last food to go into space will be the Italian extra virgin olive oil. It was announced by the Italian Space Agency. The product will be used to season the meals of the Iss astronauts. Four selections of the highest quality will arrive in 2022 with the mission of Samantha Cristoforetti. But in the Space Station, recently, was also brought pizza, tacos in addition to being present a condiment grown directly in zero gravity. The astronauts' diet has changed a lot over time. From cold pasta in aluminum tubes and cubed foods, today's foods are very similar to those we consume on Earth.

What Astronauts Eat

According to ESA, the menu aboard the International Space Station includes more than 100 dishes. Before flying into Space, astronauts already choose their daily menus. Condiments such as ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise are provided, and salt and pepper are also available, but only in liquid form. Food for space can be canned or wrapped in aluminum foil or freeze-dried, precooked or dehydrated. On board the Iss there are ovens to heat food. Many beverages also fly in space, again in dehydrated form, such as tea, coffee, orange juice or fruit cocktails. Sweets and fruits can be consumed as they are, while dehydrated foods need the addition of hot water.

Extra-virgin olive oil in Space

With the mission starting in 2022, 4 different selections of extra-virgin olive oil have been included in the cargo of supplies that are part of the so-called bonus food of Samantha Cristoforetti, that is, the specialties that each astronaut can choose to bring with him to supplement the standard diet provided. The oils, distinguished and labeled according to intensity and sensory profile, will be available to the crew to accompany a specific type of food: meat, fish, vegetables and one to enhance the most intense flavors. The sending of the oils also has another objective: to understand the effects of the stay in space of this important food.

Pizza, tacos and periodic supplies

There are no extraterrestrial stores or supermarkets in space, the supplies for the astronauts working on the ISS occur periodically with a spacecraft such as the Automated Transfer Vehicle of the ESA, or the Russian Progress. They usually arrive roughly every 40 days. Recently, a "gift" cargo was sent for astronaut Megan McArthur's birthday that included pizza with real cheese, chocolate cake, ice cream, lemons and avocados. In August, the Cygnus cargo ship delivered a pizza-making kit for seven people. But the most original food tasted by astronauts on the Iss were space tacos seasoned with a special ingredient: extraterrestrial chillies. As part of Nasa's Plant Habitat-04 project, hot peppers were grown on the space station in zero gravity. After about 4 months of maturation, the first harvest was used to prepare space tacos, composed by fajitas, beef, artichokes, rehydrated tomatoes and space chilies, defined by astronauts "the best ever eaten".

Stefania Bernardini