What is dinner like in space?

The ultimate out-of-this-world dining experience is not as glamorous as it sounds.

British chef Heston Blumenthal is renowned for his experimental approach to cooking, but his latest challenge took food science to new heights. In collaboration with the UK Space Agency, Blumenthal created a selection of dishes for astronaut Tim Peake to enjoy onboard the International Space Station.

Heston Blumenthal

NASA Food Policy

NASA has strict regulations dictating what food can go into space and how it must be prepared, so sending restaurant-quality meals into orbit is no easy task.

Everything must be heated to 140 degrees Celsius for two to kill off any bacteria that could make the crew ill, while anything that creates crumbs is strictly forbidden – they could easily float into instruments or equipment and could potentially cause serious damage – not a risk worth taking.

Eating in space is not always a particularly enjoyable experience, either.

Microgravity causes body fluids to pool around the astronauts’ heads, which compresses their sinuses. This affects their sense of smell and taste, so strong flavors are needed to stop food tasting bland.

Another factor Blumenthal had to consider was the psychological impact of a six-month stint on the ISS. He created some of Peake’s favorite dishes – including space-friendly bacon sandwiches, beef stews, and Thai curries – to remind him of home.

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