Small miracles can be real game changers.
Especially in science and space travel.
A few hours ago, NASA launched a test of the Veg-01 (VEGGIE) experiment on the International Space Station.
Astronauts Scott Kelly, Kjell Lindgren, and Kimiya Yui had a Red Romaine Lettuce salad (In Space). Then they continued after adding Balsamic Vinegar (In Space).
The Veg-01 experiment is a joint venture by NASA and Orbitec that constructed (In Space) a specialized growth chamber that facilitates plant growth(In Space). The major constrains of planting in space are monitoring the sanitation of the plants, providing enough grow light without damaging the plants, and watering plants in Zero Gravity. The last problem was solved via directly injecting water into pillows filled with nutrients that feed the lettuce.
This new tech in space botany can be a real lifesaver come our soon-to-be missions to terraform other planets. It could yield amazing results if perfected on a large-scale and automated by robots. It would be crucial in adding a bit of comfort to a diet of highly processed foods.
It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows; Space food has all been trial and error. John Glenn was the first American(1962) guinea pig to try not to suffocate and choke to death on food with great success. A year earlier, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gragarin choked down blended meat and chocolate; which did not end well for his successor Gherman Titov. The holding the amazing world record of being first to vomit in zero gravity.
Space food sucked in the 60’s. It was the stereotypical paste tubes and super freeze-dried cubes until NASA called on food corporations to develop “normal” sit-down meals. Improvements came with the convenience of smaller and more efficient Space Refrigerators/Freezers and bigger space quarters.
Although, they still haven’t figured out carbonated beverages. Apparently those cause vomit burps.
Just like beer on earth!
To be space food; the dish has to follow these general guidelines:
1) The food must be appropriate to consume. This means it must be palatable, nutritious, and more importantly: Digestible.
2) Secondly, the food must be appropriately engineered for a Zero-Gravity environment. It must be small in and out of packaging, light, and be easy to clean. (crumbs can wreak havoc on space stuff)
3) Lastly, the food must conserve energy and space. It must be packed in a way for easy storage and access, and give little waste.
Without further ado, lettuce watch this grand mastery of Horticulture