Weightlessness & Tastelessness: The NASA Space Food Systems Laboratory


space food - mercury

Space Food Apollo

Space Food Shuttle Tray

The responsibility of concocting the US astronauts’ meals falls on the shoulders of NASA Space Food Systems Laboratory (SFSL). Their mission is to “…provide high-quality flight food systems that are convenient, compatible with each crew member’s physiological and psychological requirements, meet spacecraft stowage and galley interface requirements, and are easy to prepare and eat in the weightlessness of space.” Those necessities are strict confines in the composition of a spacefarer’s diet yet another factor comes into play–the degradation of the sense of taste in weightlessness.

Foods tastes bland and flavorless; even astronauts who admit to not enjoying spicy foods and finding themselves reaching for the bottle of hot sauce. A few days into a mission, Astronauts lose their sense of smell in space and food in general doesn’t taste quite on point. I can’t figure out why exactly astronauts lose their sense of smell, but I can only imagine fluids in your body get all messed up when you’re floating delicately in space. To compensate for this sensation, the Food Systems Lab has prepared a slue of spicy, flavor packed foods. They have even called in Wolfgang Puck, Emeril Lagasse, and Rachel Ray to created meals for lift off.

Generally, eating in space seems quite fun. It’s a lot easier to play with your food in the weightlessness. It does seem a little harder to start a food fight, though.