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The Cosmic Cuisine: Exploring the Weirdest Foods Astronauts Eat

The Strangest Foods Astronauts Eat: Exploring the unique culinary adventures of space

Space travel has always captured the imagination of people around the world. The idea of exploring the vastness of the universe and witnessing the wonders of our solar system is awe-inspiring. However, life in space comes with its own set of challenges, one of which is food. Astronauts must rely on specially designed meals that can withstand the unique environment of space and provide them with the nutrition they need to successfully complete their missions. In this article, we will delve into the fascinating world of astronaut cuisine and explore some of the strangest foods that astronauts eat during their space journeys.

Liquid salt and pepper: An Unconventional Seasoning Method

No meal is complete without salt and pepper. These ubiquitous seasonings add flavor and enhance the taste of our food. But in the zero-gravity environment of space, traditional salt and pepper shakers are not up to the task. Crumbs pose a significant risk because they can clog air vents, damage electronic equipment or even float into the eyes, nose or ears of crew members. To address this issue, NASA provides astronauts with liquid salt and pepper. The salt is dissolved in water, while the pepper is mixed in oil. This unconventional method of seasoning ensures that astronauts can enjoy a flavorful meal without the risk of crumbs floating around.

Space Ram: Noodles for Zero-G Consumption

Many of us have fond memories of enjoying a late-night bowl of instant ramen noodles during our college days. These budget-friendly noodles have become a staple for students around the world. Interestingly, astronauts are also experiencing the joys of ramen in space. Thanks to Nissin Foods, the creators of Cup Noodles, astronauts can indulge in a variation called “Space Ram” soup. The noodles are reformed into balls to make them easier to eat in zero gravity, and extra spices are added to compensate for the diminished flavor in space. With choices like soy, miso, curry and pork broth, astronauts can enjoy a taste of their favorite college memory while orbiting Earth.

Taco Bell Tortillas: A taste of home in space

Imagine the excitement of stumbling upon a floating Taco Bell in the middle of the galaxy. While this scenario remains a dream for astronauts, Taco Bell has made its mark in space travel. Traditional bread is unsuitable for space missions because of the crumbs it produces. To solve this problem, Taco Bell developed tortillas with an extended shelf life. These durable tortillas became a hit with NASA because they were still functional after a year. Now, astronauts can enjoy a taste of home in space with these specially designed tortillas.

Wetpacks: Retaining moisture for a familiar dining experience

When you’re millions of miles from Earth, a comforting meal can provide a sense of familiarity. Wetpacks offer astronauts a taste of regular Earth food by retaining much of their natural moisture. These meals have a consistency similar to regular cooked food, unlike packaged freeze-dried options. For example, astronauts on Apollo 11 enjoyed wet packs of spaghetti and meat sauce, sausage, and chicken stew. While it may not be a gourmet dining experience, these wetpacks provide a much-needed connection to home for astronauts floating in orbit.

Recycled Urine: A Sustainable Water Source

Resource conservation is critical in the isolated environment of a space station. To ensure a constant supply of water, American astronauts aboard the International Space Station recycle urine and condensate through a sophisticated filtration system. The system converts urine, collected breath and sweat, shower runoff, and even urine from animals aboard the station into potable water. While the idea of drinking recycled urine may be stomach-churning, astronauts claim the filtered water tastes no different from bottled water. This sustainable approach allows astronauts to conserve resources and reduce their dependence on external water supplies.

Powdered coffee in a pouch: A caffeinated boost in space

For many people, coffee is an essential part of their daily routine, providing the much-needed energy and focus to start the day. However, brewing fresh coffee in space is not feasible due to the risk of coffee grounds floating around and making a mess. Instead, astronauts rely on instant coffee, which is freeze-dried and packaged in single-serving pouches. The pouches have a septum that allows astronauts to inject hot water and mix it with the coffee powder. This design prevents spills and waste, ensuring that astronauts can continue to enjoy their favorite cup of coffee during their space missions.

Tube borscht and rassolnik: Russian delicacies in space

Russian cuisine has also found its way into the menu of astronaut meals. Tube borscht and rassolnik, though difficult to pronounce, offer a taste of traditional Russian flavors in the depths of space. Tube borscht is a beetroot soup that comes in a toothpaste-like tube, allowing astronauts to squeeze out the desired amount. Rassolnik, a cucumber and barley soup, also comes in a similar tube format. These Russian delicacies give astronauts a sense of cultural connection and a break from the monotony of space food.


Exploring the strangest foods astronauts eat gives us a glimpse into the unique culinary challenges of space. From liquid condiments and reformed noodles to durable tortillas and wetpacks, astronauts have adapted their meals to the zero-gravity environment to provide essential nutrition. These unconventional food choices highlight the ingenuity and resourcefulness of space agencies and the dedication of astronauts to successfully complete their missions. While the flavors and textures may be different from what we experience on Earth, these space meals play a critical role in ensuring the well-being and sustenance of those who venture beyond our planet’s atmosphere. So the next time you look up at the night sky, remember the extraordinary meals that astronauts rely on as they explore the wonders of the universe.


Astronauts consume a variety of unusual foods in space, including reformed pasta, liquid salt and pepper, tube soups like borscht and rassolnik, durable tortillas, wetpacks, and even recycled urine in the form of filtered water.

Why do astronauts use liquid salt and pepper?

In the weightless environment of space, traditional salt and pepper shakers are not suitable because crumbs can pose a risk to the spacecraft. To prevent crumbs from floating around and causing damage, astronauts use liquid salt and pepper, which are dissolved in water and mixed with oil to ensure they can still add flavor to their meals while minimizing potential hazards.

How do astronauts eat pasta in space?

To make noodles more suitable for consumption in microgravity, they are formed into balls that can be easily eaten with a fork. This allows astronauts to enjoy the taste of their favorite noodle dishes without the risk of floating crumbs.

Why do astronauts eat Wetpacks?

Wetpacks provide astronauts with a sense of familiarity and the taste of regularly cooked food in space. Unlike freeze-dried options, Wetpacks retain much of their natural moisture, providing a texture and taste more similar to traditional meals.

Are astronauts really drinking recycled urine?

Yes, astronauts aboard the International Space Station use a sophisticated filtration system to recycle urine, condensate and other water sources. This allows them to convert these waste products into potable water, reducing reliance on external water supplies and promoting resource conservation in the isolated environment of a space station.

How do astronauts enjoy coffee in space?

Brewing fresh coffee in space is not feasible due to the risk of floating coffee grounds. Instead, astronauts use powdered coffee, which is freeze-dried and packaged in individual pouches. They inject hot water into the pouches through a septum and mix it with the coffee powder, providing a mess-free and convenient way to enjoy a cup of coffee in space.

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